04/18/2007 11:00PM

If you can get 4-1 odds on Forty Grams, take it


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Most signals point to a victory by Belgravia in Saturday's Lexington Stakes at Keeneland. A winner of 2 of 3 starts, he is established racing over synthetic surfaces, having scored at first asking last fall over Polytrack at Keeneland before later taking the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue over Cushion Track.

Belgravia is also battle-tested against some of the nation's best colts, having run fourth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity last year, beaten only 1 1/2 lengths by Stormello. Throw in the fact that his stalking, strong-finishing style fits the Keeneland track profile for success, and it is apparent he is the most likely winner.

That does not make him the best wager, however. Because his strengths are so obvious, he seems likely to start as a short-priced favorite. And considering that he is coming off a layoff dating back to mid-December, he would seem an underlay at odds of less than 2-1.

Finding an alternative to Belgravia is not easy. For a Grade 2 race that sometimes produces a Kentucky Derby starter or two, the Lexington seems short on quality.

But there is one prospect that looks live at a price - Forty Grams. A twice stakes-placed colt, he may start as a mild overlay, with bettors focusing more on horses with wins and top-three finishes on synthetic surfaces, such as Belgravia and Joe Got Even.

Not that racing over Polytrack is new for Forty Grams. It's not. He made one start on the surface last fall at Keeneland, finishing fourth behind Teuflesberg and Ravel in one of the strongest maiden races of the meet.

Forty Grams has blossomed in the months following that effort, particularly this year, winning a pair of races at Fair Grounds before recording third-place finishes in the Southwest at Oaklawn and the WinStar Derby at Sunland Park. His efforts in the Southwest and WinStar Derby earned him Beyer Speed Figures of 95 and 91.

Things are not all rosy for Forty Grams in the Lexington. The Polytrack surface at Keeneland has been unkind to front-runners, favoring those that can outquick their opponents in the lane.

He needs to remain at his morning-line price of 4-1 or drift higher to merit a play. But if the public jumps all over Belgravia, that is a distinct possibility.

Besides Forty Grams, here are a couple other races I like on the Saturday Keeneland card:

* Race 7 (Giant's Causeway Stakes): Garrett Gomez, who rides Forty Grams in the Lexington, is also aboard my choice in the Giant's Causeway Stakes, Forest Code.

Never worse than fourth in nine starts on turf, she brings one of the best records into the race. Forest Code has not faced any softies, either. This past winter she raced against some quality allowance and stakes competition in Southern California, and held her own.

She won a second-level allowance Jan. 18, and last time in the March 3 Flower Girl Stakes she finished a close second to Indian Flare, a Juddmonte-owned filly who returned to be second in the Grade 3 Las Cienegas at Santa Anita on April 15.

Facing no such rival in the Giant's Causeway, a 5 1/2-furlong turf race, Forest Code appears in a position to win.

* Race 6 (maiden special weight): Chriscodey, adding blinkers for the first time, ran deceptively well in his latest when fourth at Keeneland in the last race on opening day.

Why was it deceptive? Because few saw it. With the race contested in a snowstorm, no internal points of call in the race were noted in the Equibase chart. So his past performances only list him as running fourth, beaten four lengths.

In checking the replay of the race along with Trakus information provided on the Keeneland website, he was up close early, fell back into fifth place on the first turn while wide, and then came on late with an inside rally.

I am expecting an improved effort with blinkers on, and also like the addition of hot-riding Kent Desormeaux in the irons. Since last summer, he and Chriscodey's trainer, John Kimmel, are 14 for 60 together (23 percent winners), and a wager on each would have generated a $3.09 return on investment.