04/06/2005 11:00PM

'Jim' goes first-time gelding

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Shake You Down enters the Hoover Stakes 0 for 9 at Laurel Park.

Fans of the first-time gelding angle will want to pay attention to Philadelphia Jim in Saturday's $50,000 Hoover Stakes, a six-furlong sprint for older horses at Laurel Park.

The 5-year-old , a five-time winner who recorded 100-plus Beyer Speed Figures three times last season, will be racing for the first time since he tired to finish fourth in the Sam Houston Sprint Handicap in January.

"After his last race, he was gelded," said Philadelphia Jim's trainer, Mark Shuman. "Since then he's been much more willing to train. Now he's a real workhorse. He used to get a little stiff behind, but now he's moving better than ever."

Philadelphia Jim's only stakes win came at Laurel in the 2003 Dancing Count, which he won by 3 1/2 lengths in the slop. Ramon Dominguez, who rode Philadelphia Jim at Saratoga last summer and in the Dancing Count, regains the mount.

The heavy favorite in Hoover figures to be the 7-year-old Shake You Down, a winner of 18 races and $1.3 million in his long career.

comes off a second-place finish in last month's Grade 3 Toboggan Handicap at Aqueduct, a race in which he earned a 104 Beyer.

Although he's by far the most accomplished horse in the field of 10, Shake You Down's lifetime record at Laurel is 0 for 9.

Ridden by either Mike Luzzi or Dominguez in his last 10 starts, Shake You Down gets a new jockey in Roberto Alvarado Jr. for the Hoover.

The other eight runners are stepping up from either allowance or optional claiming company.

The most intriguing possibilities among that group are 4-year-olds Wild Jam and Dale's Prospect.

Wild Jam, based at Belmont Park with trainer Ben Perkins Jr., comes off a career-best 100 Beyer for his win over high-priced optional claimers at Aqueduct.

Dale's Prospect has not been worse than second in his last four starts dating back to December, including three wins with Beyers between 95 and 98.

Based on his fondness for Laurel's main track, Bocca Al Lupo must be considered a threat. A 5-year-old who prefers to come from off the pace, Bocca Al Lupo is 5 for 7 at Laurel, including a victory with a 103 Beyer on Feb. 5.