04/05/2007 12:00AM

Mr. Mink appears sharp


If Mr. Mink runs as fast in the fourth race at Fairmount Park as he did in a recent workout over the track, four others in the $11,300 money allowance at six furlongs are surely running for second.

Mr. Mink, a former Indiana horse of the year, has posted three bullet workouts over the past month in preparation for his season debut, but his most recent work on March 28 was nothing less than extraordinary. Mr. Mink covered five furlongs in 56.40 seconds, which is .40 of a second faster than the track record, set by Slight in the Rear in 1989.

Mr. Mink's work was not from the gate, however, which means he had the advantage of a running start. Nonetheless, it is highly unusual for any horse to come so close to the track record in the morning, much less break it.

A winner of 18 of 29 career starts, Mr. Mink has been formidable throughout the Midwest, but has had a more difficult time exerting his dominance at Fairmount, where he is only 2 for 7. That fact, and the possibility Mr. Mink may have left his best on the track 10 days ago, leaves an opening for two other possibilities in what is arguably the best field assembled so far this meet.

Stormy o' Bryan, who also makes his season debut in this race, upset Mr. Mink at Fairmount last July despite allowing that rival to coast on an easy lead. Another with a strong chance is the Ralph Martinez-trained Peace and Joy, a 10-time winner last year who recently captured a $25,000 claimer at Hawthorne by more than four lengths.