04/19/2005 12:00AM

Interpatation tries for encore

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Anyone with the prescience to believe a maiden could win an early-season grass stakes for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream Park was rewarded with a $79.20 mutuel when Interpatation captured the Palm Beach Stakes on March 26.

nosed out the odds-on favorite, Tadreeb, when he stunned the Gulfstream faithful in the Grade 3 Palm Beach, and fans should find themselves trying to gauge the validity of that race when they sit down to handicap the Thursday feature at Keeneland, the $100,000 Forerunner Stakes.

Nine 3-year-olds, including Interpatation and Tadreeb, were entered in the Forerunner, highlight of a nine-race card. Although Interpatation proved narrowly best in their only previous encounter, Tadreeb sports the best overall form in the race, and surely horseplayers will forgive his tough Palm Beach beat and make him their favorite once again Thursday.

In fact, , trained by Mark Hennig, may have been at a tactical disadvantage in the Palm Beach. In all six of his previous races, the Theatrical colt had shown a willingness to rate off the pace before finishing with good energy. But in the 1 1/8-mile Palm Beach, he went right to the front and led every step but the last one, as Interpatation nailed him on the wire.

Thursday, Jerry Bailey returns to ride Tadreeb, and assuming horse and rider will attempt to revert to more familiar stalking tactics, they figure as the ones to beat.

Interpatation, trained by Bobby Barbara, will be ridden again by Tommy Turner, who was aboard in the Palm Beach.

Two other Forerunner starters also exit the Palm Beach: Gun Salute, who finished sixth, beaten just 2 1/4 lengths by the top pair, and Fire It Up, eighth by 2 3/4 lengths.

is one of the more interesting challengers. He is already a two-time winner on grass, including an allowance score here last fall, and he will be treated with Lasix for the first time Thursday. Cornelio Velasquez has the mount for trainer Bill Mott.

Other possibilities include Lord Robyn, who began his turf career with three straight wins at Calder, including the Grade 3 Tropical Derby, before posting two subpar efforts at Gulfstream; Cosmic Kris, winner at Fair Grounds of his last two starts, both on grass; and Dynamic Storm, a Dynaformer colt who has made notable progress since being switched to grass racing by Hal Wiggins.

Mad Adam and Chatham Strait round out the field.

First post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.