10/13/2008 11:00PM

Layoff always a big question

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The handicapping dilemma is a familiar one. A horse seems to have a decided edge against the opposition except for one small detail: a 10-month layoff.

Such are the circumstances under which Miss A. Bomb, who competed in stakes in eight of her last 10 races, will take on five other fillies and mares in the featured eighth race Thursday at Keeneland, a $57,000 allowance at six furlongs on the Polytrack.

Co-owned by Dick Colvin and breeder William D. Gould, Miss A. Bomb is a two-time stakes winner on synthetics, having captured the 2006 Gowell at Turfway Park and the first stakes ever run at Presque Isle Downs, the Inaugural, in September 2007. Now 4, this daughter of Lemon Drop Kid will be making her first start since December.

"She'd run hard her first two years," said trainer Phil Sims. "She had no real issues other than she needed a rest. They'd given her the late winter and early spring off before putting her back into training in Chicago."

Sims assumed the training of Miss A. Bomb from Grant Hofmans, who had worked a circuit of Kentucky and Chicago in recent years but quit training at Arlington Park in late July to return with his family to work with horses on a farm in his home state of California.

"Ever since I've had this filly, she's been impressive," said Sims. "She's all class, all business."

Miss A. Bomb will have Miguel Mena aboard when she breaks from post 5.

The feature is restricted to fillies and mares that have not won a race "other than" in 2008, or, in the case of School Girl and Sweet Ambition, horses being risked for an $80,000 claiming price.

If Miss A. Bomb is unsuccessful in her return, it could be because either half of an uncoupled Steve Asmussen entry will outrun her. Asmussen will start Sweet Ambition, the leading earner in the race with $246,156, and Misty Lady, an Argentine-bred who is a Group 1 winner in her native land and will be making her North American debut Thursday.

School Girl, a two-time winner at the recent Presque Isle meet, and Daring Julie, a 15-time winner from 55 starts, loom as fringe threats. Fotografica completes the lineup.

Two other allowances, races 3 and 6, also are on a nine-race Thursday card.