03/18/2004 1:00AM

Kim's Gem looks ready to fire big off layoff

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Kim's Gem, who has turned in three straight bullet works for his first start in two months, is the one to catch Saturday night in the $50,000 Clyde B. Stephens Stakes at Delta Downs in Vinton, La.

The five-furlong race, for 3-year-olds bred in Louisiana, drew a full field of 10.

Kim's Gem has developed rapidly over the winter. He won his maiden at Fair Grounds on Nov. 28, then in his next start finished second in the $84,000 Louisiana Futurity. Kim's Gem followed up that race with a front-running win in a conditioned allowance for statebreds at Fair Grounds.

He has not started since that Jan. 23 race, but has been working sharply at Evangeline Downs. Kim's Gem worked five furlongs in 1:00 on Feb. 7; four furlongs in 47.60 seconds Feb. 28; and five furlongs in 59.20 seconds March 6.

Kim's Gem will break from the rail. Trainer Lloyd Romero has given the mount to Jeri Nichols.

Others of note in the race include Crescent City Cat, who has won his last two starts, and Bold Minister, who was second to Kim's Gem in a conditioned allowance Jan. 22, then came back to win at that level in his next start March 5.