08/09/2007 11:00PM

'Johnie' looks cut above rest


Four New York-breds with outstanding records over the track and one invader from the tougher circuit downstate will clash in a nut-tough field of six in the $50,000 Leon Reed Memorial Handicap at six furlongs Sunday at Finger Lakes. But on Beyer Speed Figures alone, Johnie Bye Night looks best.

Trained by Charlton Baker, the meet's second-leading trainer, Johnie Bye Night owns five Beyers in the 93 to 100 range in his last eight starts. The five others combined do not have a single Beyer that high in their last 67 starts.

Johnie Bye Night has won 4 of his 5 starts locally, the loss a solid second to Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide last time out in the $100,000 Wadsworth Memorial Handicap on July 4. Sunday's race should be easier.

Not that his rivals are without credentials. Mr. Bourbon Street, also trained by Baker, is 4-1-0 in 6 starts over this track and won his last three easily, all at odds of 1-2 or lower. Long Lost Pal is 5-1-0 in 7 starts locally and on a three-race win streak. Pinky Freud is 7-5-2 in 16 local starts.

But the one time Mr. Bourbon met Johnie Bye Night, in the Barker Handicap on May 28, Johnie Bye Night beat him by 6 1/2 lengths.

Pinky Freud ran second, beaten 3 3/4 lengths, to Mr. Bourbon Street in a $26,500 starter handicap last out July 14.

Long Lost Pal's local record and win streak came against lesser, and his top Beyer of 83 isn't enough.

Seeking the Glory, 7, arrives from downstate where he was winning checks but not races. His last three Beyers are in the 82-86 range, but Beyers often rise sharply on horses moving from downstate to Finger Lakes. Johnie Bye Night's, for example, shot from 81 to 100 first time here.

Scary Bob, from meet-leading trainer Chris Englehart, is 3-1-3 in 8 local starts, and he was the 2-1 second-choice versus Johnie Bye Night and Mr. Bourbon Street in the Barker, losing by 16 lengths. Still, he won the $125,000 Hudson Handicap at Belmont last October, has three straight bullet works since the Barker, and could suddenly improve.

Meet-leading rider John Davila Jr. is named on both Scary Bob and Johnie Bye Night. His agent, Bill Finnigan, said as long as Johnie Bye Night runs, that's who he'll ride.