04/03/2006 11:00PM

Lady Byar must avoid bounce


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Grass racing again dominates the card at Gulfstream Park on Thursday, but it is a one-mile optional claimer on the dirt that highlights Thursday's 10-race program.

The $33,000 feature drew a field of seven fillies and mares, led by Lady Byar, who not only comes into the race on top of her game but also as the only five-time winner in the field. Claimed by trainer Gerald Procino for $14,000 out of a sharp 3 1/2-length victory on March 10, Lady Byar came back just 17 days later to return quick dividends for her new connections when she rallied to a 2 1/4-length triumph over $25,000 claiming foes. She's entered for that same price again Thursday, in a race also open to first-level allowance runners.

Both of Lady Byar's recent wins came at the same distance as Thursday's feature, and the 77 Beyer Speed Figure she earned 10 days earlier is the best last-race number posted by any member of this field. It was also a career topper for Lady Byar, however, and as a result she's eligible to bounce returning on such short rest.

will pick up two pounds off her previous two victories, toting high weight of 123 pounds under the conditions of the event. She will be ridden for the first time by jockey Clinton Potts, who is on a hot streak that included a victory here last Saturday aboard Little Thunder in the Artax Handicap.

The speed of the race will come from one of two stablemates - both Northern Vacation and Cape of Good Hope are set to stretch out off a series of sprint outings. The fact that trainer Robert Dibona has named jockey Elvis Trujillo on both fillies indicates he intends to scratch one of the pair. Dibona could be in the position to steal the race on the front end with whichever horse he ultimately chooses to start.

looks the strongest of the Dibona pair, as the 88 Beyer she earned winning her maiden in gate-to-wire fashion at Calder in December is the highest figure in this lineup.

returns to the main track after failing to be a factor trying to stay 1 1/2 miles on the turf. Bohemian Rain had finished third in a key race 19 days earlier, checking home behind only Morning Sky and Prospector's Bride, both of whom returned to capture their next start. Claimed earlier in the meet by trainer Mike Collins for $25,000, Bohemian Rain will be seeking her first victory since trouncing $35,000 claiming foes going nine furlongs last summer at Saratoga.