03/24/2004 12:00AM

Power Boy's trainer shows confidence


ARCADIA, Calif. - Sometimes understanding the way a trainer manages a horse can lead the way to a longshot winner. Jack Carava may be tipping his hand with Power Boy in Friday's featured seventh race at Santa Anita.

most recently won a $32,000 claiming race that was restricted to 4-year-olds. He is facing older runners on Friday, and is stepping up in class further, into a 1 1/16-mile race for $40,000 claimers or first-level allowance horses.

On paper, it's a significant jump. But Carava has chosen to exercise the allowance condition for Power Boy rather than risk him for $40,000, an extremely confident move, especially considering Carava claimed Power Boy for $25,000. In a field with several horses who may have seen better days, Power Boy offers a tempting alternative.

Carava is loaded on Friday. He has runners entered in six of the eight races, and most have good chances. In the second race, She Roves is another recent winner taking a confident jump in class. O'Nectar drops in the third after fading against better. Fifth-race runner Fortune Catcher also takes a slight class drop after pressing a hot pace.

Highly Tempting, who runs in the sixth, is the polar opposite of Power Boy. He is taking a class drop after a sharp race against better in his last start. He may win, but he will be an underlay.

And in the finale, Carava sends out the maiden-claimer Palace Rose, who was claimed out of a trouble-filled debut.

Of the 11 California-bred runners in the seventh race, Power Boy is one of only three who is being protected for the allowance condition. The rest, including former stakes horses Hoovergetthekeys and Hot Market, are in for a $40,000 tag.

Hot Market continues to plummet in class, seeking the proper level for his current form. In his last start, Hot Market forced a hot pace and then faded to finish sixth in a $62,500 claiming sprint in which winner Unfurl the Flag equaled Spectacular Bid's track record. Hot Market has yet to finish in the money in five starts since returning from a 10-month absence.

Geardown is seeking his third straight victory at this track. He won a similar race in his last start, and can only be entered for a claiming price in this race.

Surprized was a winner against $40,000 claimers in his last start, but that was against open company, so he is taking a subtle class drop to face Cal-breds. He is seeking his third straight victory.