08/15/2006 11:00PM

Paddy Murphy turning things around


DEL MAR, Calif. - The 3-year-old colt Paddy Murphy has turned things around since he returned from a four-month layoff.

From December to February, Paddy Murphy had one victory in four starts, and his trainer, Paddy Gallagher, was not pleased with his progress.

"We backed off to see if he'd get stronger," Gallagher said.

Since returning in June, Paddy Murphy has run twice, finishing second and then winning by 4 1/2 lengths in an allowance race at 6 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park on July 8. He will try for his third victory in an optional claimer at six furlongs in the seventh race at Del Mar on Monday.

Owned by Super Horse, Paddy Murphy will go off as the favorite Monday. Gallagher said Paddy Murphy has trained well since the allowance win.

"It would be nice to see him win or run second," Gallagher said. "The last two starts were kind of impressive."

Gallagher said he has his eye on the $100,000 El Cajon Stakes at a mile for 3-year-olds on Sept. 2 for Paddy Murphy. To get there, Paddy Murphy needs to win Monday. He has five opponents, none of whom are coming off a win.

Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has a live contender in Jeffries Bay, who is entered to be claimed for $62,500. A 5-year-old, Jeffries Bay was sixth in the Sam Whiting Handicap at the Alameda County Fair at Pleasanton on July 8. He finished second in an optional claimer at Bay Meadows in late May.

Jeffries Bay could benefit if Paddy Murphy and Bushwacker set a quick pace. Bushwacker won an allowance race at Hollywood Park in May, fighting for the lead throughout.

The race marks the first start of the year for Funny Flyer, a 4-year-old gelding. In 2005, Funny Flyer finished second in the Earlene McCabe Derby at the San Mateo County Fair at Bay Meadows. Monday's race is his first start for trainer Valerie Rhoden.

* Monday's second race is a $63,000 optional claimer for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles. The race marks a comeback for Quiet Kim, who finished second in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks in March.

Owned by Chris and Kimberly Houcin and trained by Bob Hess Jr., Quiet Kim has not started since finishing second in an optional claimer at a mile on turf at Hollywood Park on June 22.

Quiet Kim drew the rail and has four opponents. The only one coming off a win is Romanesque, who won a $20,000 claimer here on July 28.