02/23/2007 12:00AM

Hyte Regency poised for top effort


NEW ORLEANS - Jeff Trosclair has brought Hyte Regency back carefully from the injury he suffered in the 2006 Risen Star Stakes, and the 4-year-old could be ready for his best in Sunday's feature at Fair Grounds, a second-level allowance for older horses at 7 1/2 furlongs on the grass.

This will be the third start back for Hyte Regency. In his first start off the layoff, Hyte Regency made the lead briefly and lost by a head in a race similar to Sunday's.

"After a year off I thought it was very encouraging," trainer Jeff Trosclair said.

Hyte Regency returned three weeks later in an optional-claiming route on dirt, finishing a strong second to Piety. His proven versatility may be important on Sunday if the predicted thunderstorms cause the race to be moved off the turf.

Hyte Regency did not scare off the competition, though, in a race that attracted 14, including one main-track-only entrant and three also-eligibles.

The most interesting of Hyte Regency's rivals is California shipper Forest Phantom. A 4-year-old gelding, he has been running in turf sprints at Hollywood Park recently and owner Maggi Moss shipped him to the Tom Amoss barn here this month.

Amoss said Forest Phantom is an unknown factor, and that the choice to run him in this race "was a decision made by the owner."

Forest Phantom has turned in a couple of respectable works over the Fair Grounds track for Amoss, but he is unsure of how Forest Phantom's form in six-furlong turf sprints at Hollywood and 6 1/2-furlong races on Santa Anita's downhill course will translate to two turns on the Fair Grounds 7 1/2-furlong grass course.

"It's a distance that's a bit unusual," Amoss said. "I don't know what to expect."

Several others in Sunday's race have a good shot at the money. Heart of a Leader lost by a nose to Cozt Aside in the faster division of the split race in which Hyte Regency returned. Cozt Aside, 6, has a 2-4-2 record in 10 turf starts, and an 0-2-1 record in 3 starts over the course at this meet. His best race was at this distance, and it seems likely he will be a pace factor.

International Cat and Brush With Danger have also shown good speed in the past, so the possibility of a brisk pace is certainly there. That could benefit the deep closer Go to the Sun, who has been off since winning a 1 1/16-mile turf route here on Dec. 16.