01/10/2007 12:00AM

Hyte Regency comes off sidelines


It's not like Jeff Trosclair has trained 20 different champions, but he has had graded stakes-class horses pass through his barn more than once, and Trosclair did work under Bill Mott, who has trained a decent horse or two. So, when Trosclair suggests that Hyte Regency might wind up being the best horse he has ever trained, it's not just an idle boast.

Hyte Regency had a good run through the late summer and autumn of his 2-year-old season in 2005, and Trosclair came into 2006 hoping for a productive 3-year-old stakes campaign, but after Hyte Regency finished third last Jan. 26 in the Risen Star Stakes, he went to the sidelines with an injury. Friday's co-featured seventh race at Fair Grounds marks the end of a long layoff for Hyte Regency, who faces eight rivals in the first division of a second-level turf allowance that attracted enough entries to be split into two races. The other is race 9, which also went with nine entries, including a promising, lightly raced Neil Howard-trained colt named Cozt Aside.

Trosclair has been a part of Hyte Regency's career since a Florida 2-year-olds in training sale in April 2005, where on Trosclair's advice owner Jesse Mack Robinson spent $85,000 to acquire this Florida-bred son of Diligence. Trosclair felt he was getting a bargain, and already, without ever having a chance to fully tap his talent, Hyte Regency has earned more than $122,000. Barring further setbacks, his best races should be ahead of him. Even at the beginning of this meet, when Hyte Regency had yet to post his first workout, onlookers were impressed by the daily gallops of this striking gray horse who clearly had done some serious maturing during his absence.

Hyte Regency may turn out to be as good on dirt as on turf, but his two wins have come on grass, albeit the grass at Louisiana Downs, which is an entirely different ball game than Fair Grounds. Hyte Regency has breezed six times for his return, and lands in a field that doesn't look especially tough for the class level. A comeback victory seems well within his reach.

Four-year-old Cozt Aside, Howard's horse in race 9, is by the turf sire Cozzene, but his lone loss in three career starts came in his only turf race. Away from May until Dec. 1, Cozt Aside returned in a 5 1/2-furlong entry-level allowance that was rained off turf, and won by nearly four lengths. His main rival Friday might be No Fault, who was second in a Fair Grounds dirt sprint last out, but won on the Arlington turf this past summer for trainer Paul McGee.