10/20/2003 11:00PM

'Ioya' goes short again after win


CHICAGO - On the far turn of Hawthorne's third race on Sept. 28, trainer Chris Block saw what he had hoped to see for the last year and a half. Ioya Forever ran in full flight, finding a seam along the inside as she hit the peak of a sustained rally. She burst to the lead at the top of the stretch, and went on to win a third-level allowance race by almost four lengths, zipping six furlongs in a strong 1:10.80.

"It was probably the best race of her life," Block said this week.

And it was about time. Bred by David and Patricia Block, Chris Block's parents, and owned by the Block family partnership, Team Block, Ioya Forever was produced by the mare Ioya, making her a sister to the top Illinois-breds Mystery Giver and Ioya Two. Her siblings specialized in two-turn turf races, and, naturally, Block assumed Ioya Forever was bound to run long.

Maybe not.

"I guess she ran so well the other day because we turned her back to a sprint," Block said. "Why, I'm not quite sure. The idea is that maybe we've been doing something she really didn't want to do, trying to run her long."

It's right back to another sprint for Ioya Forever, who heads a field of eight entered in Hawthorne's featured fifth race Thursday, a rare fourth-level allowance that also has a $50,000 claiming condition. This one is at 6 1/2 furlongs, but the added 100 yards shouldn't make a difference. If Ioya Forever is cut out to be a one-run sprinter, anything between six and seven furlongs should suit her.

And she apparently has continued to thrive since her breakout win late last month. "She came out of it real well," said Block, his opinion backed up by his filly's bullet half-mile work in 48 seconds here last Saturday.

This is an open race, but Ioya Forever is one of four Illinois-breds entered. Another is Cashmere Miss, who was a dull third in a Sept. 23 Fairmount Park stakes, but won two straight at Arlington in August, the last over open allowance horses. She has run well at Hawthorne, as has Bold Diva, a Kentucky-bred mare trained by the cold Louie Roussel. Roussel's stable is in transition right now, and Bold Diva hasn't raced since February, but at her best she would be a major contender in Thursday's race, and Roussel typically has horses ready to fire fresh. A bullet five-furlong gate breeze on Oct. 11 suggests this one is ready.