05/26/2007 12:00AM

Johnie Bye Night seeks repeat


Johnie Bye Night, unbeaten in three stakes starts last season at Finger Lakes, returns to his favorite track for the $50,000 George W. Barker Handicap at six furlongs.

Charlton Baker, the owner and trainer of Johnie Bye Night, will seek to win the Barker for the fourth consecutive year. He won the 2004 and 2005 runnings of the six-furlong stakes for New York-breds with Top Shoter.

Johnie Bye Night romped in last year’s Barker, setting a stakes record of 1:09.34. In three starts this season, however, all over Aqueduct’s inner track, Johnie Bye Night hasn’t hit the board, flashing speed and tiring badly each time. A string of five straight bullet works locally since late April indicate he should rebound now that he’s back at his home track.

The most serious threats to Johnie Bye Night look like Scary Bob and Touchdown Kid, both trained by Chris Englehart.

Scary Bob comes off a sharp second in a turf sprint at Indiana Downs. Two starts ago, in the Hollie Hughes at Aqueduct, he finished third after setting the pace, beating Johnie Bye Night by four lengths.

Touchdown Kid, a recent acquisition by Englehart, formerly raced for high-profile trainers Richard Schosberg and Bill Mott. Englehart, off to a fast start at this meet with 10 wins from his first 45 starters, does well with runners making their first start for him at Finger Lakes following a short layoff, posting a 5-for-20 record with a $2.58 return on investment the past two years.