04/14/2009 11:00PM

Pair of flashy fillies meeting


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Indian Way and Halo Hollie, two lightly raced fillies who have flashed major talent, will test each other's mettle in Thursday's six-furlong headliner, a $47,000 second-level optional claimer.

Indian Way was hand-ridden to a maiden win with a Beyer Speed Figure of 100 on Hollywood Park's Cushion Track last spring, before coming to New York for a third-place finish behind Indian Blessing and By the Light in the Grade 1 Prioress.

In her 4-year-old debut, Indian Way toyed with first-level allowance rivals while showing new-found early speed.

"She came off the layoff and ran well," said trainer Tony Dutrow. "We felt she came away from the race for the better. We think she's a nicer kind of filly. Hopefully she runs a great race here, and it's on to bigger and better."

Standing in her way is Halo Hollie, whose two wins in early 2008 included a decision over Seventh Street, winner of the recent Grade 1 Apple Blossom.

Halo Hollie has changed hands since running fifth in last year's Grade 2 Bonnie Miss, and returns from a 383-day layoff for new trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

Completing the field are Just Zip It, a New York-bred who has trained sharply for her first start of the year; the well-traveled Tide Runner, whose 10 career wins have come at eight different tracks; and Bette to Win, a fast-breaking shipper from Laurel who has won all four of her dirt starts when able to grab the lead at the first call.

Benny the Bull gets in a work

Benny the Bull, last year's champion sprinter, had his first workout of the year on Tuesday, breezing three furlongs over Aqueduct's main track in 36.60 seconds. It was the fastest of six works at the distance.

Benny the Bull was perfect in four starts last year for Rick Dutrow, when he equaled a track record in the Sunshine Millions Sprint, traveled to Dubai to win the $2 million Golden Shaheen, and returned to the U.S. to win the True North and Smile handicaps.

He was initially retired after an ankle injury while training toward last year's Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga, then announced as unretired by co-owner Michael Iavarone in his Eclipse Award acceptance speech.

* Though there are still a few patches of snow on the grounds, spring will definitely be in the air when Saratoga's Oklahoma track opens for training on Thursday.