07/11/2007 11:00PM

Praying for Cash back for 4-year-old debut

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Bill Denver/EquiPhotos
Praying for Cash has won twice off workouts, each time by coming from off the pace in sprints.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Praying for Cash, last year's Long Branch winner and Haskell runner-up, makes his 4-year-old debut in a third-level allowance and optional claimer carded as race 3 on the Friday twilight program. First post is 3 p.m.

Among the four others entered in the $59,000 sprint at 6 1/2 furlongs, Bound Notebook and Dashboard Drummer are in exceptionally sharp form and figure as strong contenders in a small but salty field that also includes the steady-going Sinkwich and the stakes-placed New York-bred Executive Search.

Praying for Cash ran exceptionally well in top company when stretched out at Monmouth Park last summer, when he was trained by Kelly Breen. He won the Long Branch at the expense of eventual Grade 1 winner Latent Heat and returned three weeks later to set the pace in the Haskell, holding second behind Bluegrass Cat.

The versatile Praying for Cash has won twice off workouts, each time by coming from off the pace in sprints. He has trained sharply at Saratoga in preparation for his first start since finishing fifth in Keeneland's Perryville Stakes last fall.

"He's just a really nice horse," said Neal McLaughlin, brother of and assistant to the horse's new trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin. "We've had him about two months, and I've had him up here for about a month. He's a really sound horse and a nice mover. It's good to get him started again, and we're looking forward to a big year with him."

Dashboard Drummer was claimed for $55,000 from his first start of the year by Tony Dutrow, and in four starts since then has won himself out nearly twice over, earning just over $100,000. After running second in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler and third in the Grade 2 True North earlier at this meet, he drops back to the level at which he won twice at Aqueduct in the spring.

"What a wonderful horse," Dutrow said of the 6-year-old gelding, who is entered to be claimed for $75,000. "These guys like him that have run in a lot of hard races, my hat's off to them how they keep their enthusiasm. We just try to keep him happy - we know he likes Belmont."

Bound Notebook has run some big races this year, beginning with a second to Stephen Foster winner Flashy Bull at Gulfstream Park. His second-level allowance win came at the expense of three next-out winners, including the speedy Rondo. He was nosed on the wire after six furlongs in 1:08.30 in his first try at this level.