08/21/2002 11:00PM

Gygistar tries to make it 5 for 5


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Gygistar heads into Saturday's $200,000 King's Bishop a perfect 4 for 4 this year.

Gygistar, the likely favorite, meets eight rivals in the Grade 1 King's Bishop for 3-year-olds on the Travers undercard.

Gygistar, who comes from the stakes-loaded stable of trainer Mark Hennig and owner Edward P. Evans, has won three stakes this year. Two of his wins came at seven furlongs, the distance of the King's Bishop. His other stakes victory was in the 1 1/16-mile Dwyer at Belmont Park on July 7.

Gygistar was sick after the Grade 2 Dwyer and Hennig didn't want to rush things, so he bypassed the Jim Dandy. He said Gygistar has trained super at Saratoga.

"I have a lot of confidence bringing him over there," Hennig said. "The post [9] is great for us. There's plenty of speed inside. I wouldn't anticipate being on the lead. He can be, if Johnny [Velazquez] wants to."

Gygistar and Labamta Babe are the co-highweights at 124 pounds under the allowance conditions of the King's Bishop.

Labamta Babe is trained by Bobby Frankel and owned by Edmund A. Gann, the same connections as Travers favorite Medaglia d'Oro.

Labamta Babe was sidelined by injury after his 5 1/2-length win in the 1 1/16-mile Santa Catalina at Santa Anita on Jan. 19. Frankel is using the King's Bishop as a starting point for longer races down the road.

Frankel, who won the King's Bishop last year with Eclipse Award sprint champion Squirtle Squirt, said the key to Labamta Babe is not to rush him early.

"That's the mistake I made with him when I ran him long [in the Hollywood Futurity]," Frankel said. "We chased him out of there. You have to let him find his stride and finish. That's what we did last time."

Jerry Bailey, aboard Squirtle Squirt last year, has the mount on Labamta Babe, who drew post 2.

It looks like there is plenty of speed in here in the form of Boston Common, Day Trader, and Najran.

Todd Pletcher, who has had a difficult meet with two of his top horses dying, will saddle Folkestone Park and Smooth Jazz, an uncoupled entry.

Folkestone Park, 2 for 2 at seven furlongs, steps up after winning a second-level allowance by 7 1/2 lengths here on July 27. The colt earned a 105 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort.

"To step up from a two-other-than is very tough, but he seems to like the distance and deserves a chance," said Pletcher, who won the King's Bishop two years ago with More Than Ready.

Pletcher said the same holds true for Smooth Jazz, who finished third behind talented sprinters Voodoo and Aldebaran in an allowance race on Aug. 3.

"He ran very well in a tough three-other-than," Pletcher said. "Seven is a good distance for him."

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