09/29/2004 11:00PM

Private Lap formidable

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Despite the presence of previous Kelso Handicap winners Country Be Gold and Lyracist, Private Lap is clearly the horse to beat in this year's edition of the $100,000 Kelso at Delaware Park.

The 5-year-old Private Lap has an amazing record of 8 wins and 3 seconds in 11 lifetime starts over Delaware's main track. His three losses were by the slimmest of margins - a head, a nose, and a neck.

The only question mark is the distance. Although Private Lap is 3 for 8 at 1 1/8 miles, he has never raced beyond that distance. The Kelso will be contested at 1 3/16 miles.

Country Be Gold won last year's Kelso with a 104 Beyer Speed Figure. For Country Be Gold, it will be his third start since Sept. 11, a busy schedule for a 7-year-old. Most recently, he finished fourth behind Roses in May in the Grade 2 Kentucky Cup Handicap at Turfway.

Lyracist won the 2000 Kelso with a 101 Beyer and finished sixth a year later. He is winless in eight starts this year.

* Canadian shipper Roving Angel, unbeaten in two starts, should be heavily favored to win her third in a row in the $50,000 Finger Lakes Juvenile Fillies.