07/16/2003 11:00PM

Off his last, 'Banned' looks hot


Banned in Boston does not have the flashiest pedigree among those in Saturday's $75,000 Regaey Island Stakes on the Ellis Park turf, nor is he even a stakes winner. He has merely won two races, a maiden $50,000 claiming race and an entry-level allowance. Yet he will be a prohibitive favorite against seven opponents in the Regaey Island following a 7 3/4-length romp on turf at Churchill Downs, a performance that earned him a Beyer Speed Figure of 99.

To put that figure in perspective, his 99 Beyer Figure is above par for a summer graded stakes race for 3-year-old turf horses. Last week, for example, Silver Tree won the $500,000 Virginia Derby with a Beyer of 93 and Sharp Impact won the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Belmont Park with a 95 Beyer.

Their victories came against accomplished opposition, while Banned in Boston benefited from racing uncontested on the lead in his allowance triumph. The Regaey Island presents more of a challenge. Shake the Bank, a headstrong front-runner, has the speed to challenge him early, and closers Ontario and and G P Fleet will be rallying late.

Even if he regresses off his first turf race, he may still prove difficult to defeat. None of his opponents has earned a Beyer Figure above 86 on turf, and last year Missme won the Regaey Island with a Beyer of 88.

Banned in Boston will race 1 1/16 miles for the first time Saturday. A son of Boston Harbor, he has never raced beyond a mile and has raced a route only once. He has the pedigree to handle the distance. His dam, Novel Encounter, is a half-sister to Behrens, who made over $3 million in the handicap ranks between 1997 and 2000.

Heading the opposition is Ontario, a Storm Cat colt who won a Group 3 stakes race in Ireland as a juvenile last year. He has since been unplaced in three U.S. starts. His best effort came in his last race, when he finished sixth, beaten three lengths in the Grade 2 Arlington Classic.

G P Fleet, a recent $80,000 claim at Churchill Downs, will be making his first start for trainer Steve Flint. He rallied for second in the June 26 race from which he was claimed and was a runaway winner of a maiden race at Churchill in May. Both those races were at a mile on turf.