09/27/2004 11:00PM

By the numbers, Picadilly Bay a clear favorite


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Picadilly Bay has a decided edge in the Beyer Speed Figure department in Thursday's Woodbine feature.

The $25,000 optional claimer, for nonwinners of three, will be contested at 1 1/16 miles for a purse of $36,400. All eight entrants will run without a tag.

Picadilly Bay was on the Queen's Plate trail in the spring after having won his first two starts of the year. After faring poorly in the Victoria Park Stakes, however, he bypassed the Plate in favor of the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie.

Picadilly Bay finished far back over a sloppy track in the July 18 Prince of Wales. He then ran second in a $25,000 optional claimer. Two starts back, he finished fourth in a $62,500 optional claimer, from which third-place finisher Strike Em Hard exited to be third in the Grade 3 B.C. Derby.

Picadilly Bay had a four-wide trip behind a slow pace most recently, in the allowance prep for the Ontario Derby, and ended up five lengths back of Organ Grinder in fifth. The 89 Beyer he earned that day is easily the highest recent route Beyer of any of his opponents.

David Clark, who rode Picadilly Bay in both of his wins, retains the mount. Clark and trainer John Ross have combined for a solid 5-for-27 record at the Woodbine meeting.

Among the other contenders in the headliner are Lettherebejustice, Pants N Kisses, and Rodeo Fun.

Lettherebejustice was second and fourth in back-to-back races at this price and distance in August.

In a tough preliminary allowance Sept. 4, Lettherebejustice broke slowly before ending up seventh. The winner, Sky Diamond, subsequently captured an $80,000 optional claimer in a romp, and fifth-place finisher Alleged Ruler came back to take an allowance convincingly.

Pants N Kisses hasn't found the mark in seven starts at this stand, but managed to fill out the triactor behind Sky Diamond the last time he raced over the main track, in a $40,000 conditioned claimer Aug. 15.

Pants N Kisses competed on the grass with a $40,000 tag in his latest, finishing nearly four lengths back in sixth.

Rodeo Fun, a come-from-behind sprinter, was third in the restricted Kingarvie Stakes the only time he tried a route last November.

Rodeo Fun received Beyers in the mid-80's while hitting the board in each of his two most recent races, both against $62,500 3-year-olds.