06/27/2001 11:00PM

Migliore gives nod to Personal Pro


ELMONT, N.Y. - Since dropping in with New York-breds, Bakhoor has reeled off two consecutive victories by a combined 20 lengths.

So why has Richard Migliore decided to ride Personal Pro in Saturday's $100,000 Mike Lee Stakes at Belmont Park?

Bakhoor and Personal Pro figure to duke it out for top honors in the Mike Lee, which drew an overflow field of 15. Only 14 will be permitted to run. The Mike Lee, run at seven furlongs, is the first leg of the Big Apple Triple for New York-bred

3-year-olds. The series also consists of the $125,000 New York Derby at Finger Lakes on July 28 and the $150,000 Albany Handicap at Saratoga. If a horse can sweep the three races, he will earn his owner a $250,000 bonus.

Last year, owner James Edwards nearly won that bonus with Image Maker, who won the first two legs before finishing fourth in the Albany. Edwards owns Personal Pro, a son of Distinctive Pro who has won two of three starts.

Migliore has ridden Personal Pro twice, including a 6 1/4-length victory in a nine-furlong allowance race on May 24. Migliore said Personal Pro was considerably more professional the second time he rode him and believes he may better suited than Bakhoor to the seven furlongs of the Mike Lee.

"They're both real nice horses,'' Migliore said. "`Bakhoor's been winning pretty impressively. We know Bakhoor can get a distance, I'm not so sure he'll be as effective at seven-eighths as the other horse.''

Trainer James Bond is worried that seven-eighths may be too short for Personal Pro although he thinks he could be well-suited for the two other races in the series. That's one reason Bond has also entered Solar Deputy, who has won his last two starts at six furlongs.

"``I'm trying to cover all my bases,'' Bond said. "Personal Pro has a better chance to win the Triple; Solar Deputy can't carry it much farther than seven-eighths.''

Bakhoor was part of the Godolphin Racing 2-year-old contingent that shipped to California last year. After four losses, he returned to Dubai, where he lost three more races against stiffer competition. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin contacted Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford and said the horse belonged in New York. His two demonstrative wins bore that out.

Bakhoor, who will be ridden by Jerry Bailey, has to be supplement for $5,000 to each of the three Big Apple Triple races.

Draw Play could score in Tremont

With impressive maiden winner In High Gear recovering from minor surgery, Draw Play will try to carry the ball for trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. when he takes on four others in the $100,000 Tremont for juvenile colts.

A son of End Sweep, Draw Play won his maiden by a neck following a race-long duel with Proud Citizen. Proud Citizen came back to win his maiden by 9 1/4 lengths Thursday at Belmont.

Dutrow, the leading trainer at Belmont, was equally as impressed with Draw Play's first race when he was defeated two lengths by Pinch Hitter, who is also in this field.

After winning his maiden, Pinch Hitter contracted a fever, which forced him to miss the Flash Stakes. Trainer John Terranova believes the extra time benefited Pinch Hitter, who fired a bullet half-mile move in 46.80 seconds on June 10. In a race with plenty of pace, Pinch Hitter is a very dangerous closer under Shaun Bridgmohan.

Buster's Daydream was overlooked at 21-1 in the Flash, but he romped to a 4 1/2-length victory. Although Edgar Prado took off to ride Draw Play, trainer Tim Tullock has John Velazquez to ride. Buster's Daydream is running back in three weeks coming off a career-best effort so he could be a bounce candidate.