03/12/2005 12:00AM

Raving Rocket allowed to loaf

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CHICAGO - Raving Rocket, making his first start around two turns, set a leisurely pace while clear on the lead, and won the $42,000 Flag Officer Stakes by three lengths on Saturday at Hawthorne.

Raving Rocket's gain was 1-2 shot Humor at Last's loss. A two-time sprint winner capable of going an opening quarter-mile in less than 22 seconds, Humor at Last galloped along in fourth position, trailing Raving Rocket ($10.60) by several lengths down the backstretch. The favorite got briefly involved at the quarter pole, but flattened out and finished fourth on a dull, seemingly tiring racing surface. It was Win Me Over who turned in the strong late run, closing for second. Royal Flyer was third, followed by Humor at Last and the distant trailer, Five Rubies.

The victory was the third for Raving Rocket, a 3-year-old son of Lil's Lad owned by the Dare to Dream Stable partnership and trained by Larry Rivelli. Raving Rocket won in a splashy debut last May 31 at Arlington, but it was five months and three starts before he scored again here on Oct. 24.

Raving Rocket had finished fourth at Gulfstream Park in his 2005 debut, but Saturday, he and jockey E.T. Baird had things their own way, going an opening half-mile in 49.23 seconds, and six furlongs in 1:14.05 on the way to victory. Raving Rocket was timed in 1:49.19 for 1 1/16 miles.

Competitive sprint allowance

The mare Deno's Connections has moved onto bigger things after winning the opening day feature here. The horses behind her that day return for more of the same in the featured eighth race Tuesday.

The third-level sprint allowance with a $35,000 claiming option drew the second, third, fourth, and seventh-place finishers from the race that Deno's Connections won. There are three new shooters Tuesday: Call Me Dorie is in tough after narrowly clearing her second Illinois-bred allowance condition last time out, while both Piano Tunner and Of Legal Age can contend for the top slot in this spot.

Since she was a clear second last time, Fighting Fever might be favored Tuesday, but she is far from a certainty. Fighting Fever, bred and owned by former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar, had a solid 2004, but a 13-start campaign produced only one win.

I Love Lisa was seventh as the favorite opening day, but she could do much better this time, especially if she makes the lead in a relatively paceless race.

Piano Tunner beat $10,000 starter-allowance sprinters at Oaklawn on Feb. 16, while Of Legal Age exits the Kissapotamus Stakes, where she finished sixth, and takes a drop in class.CHICAGO - Raving Rocket, making his first start around two turns, set a leisurely pace while clear on the lead, and won the $42,000 Flag Officer Stakes by three lengths on Saturday at Hawthorne.

Raving Rocket's gain was 1-2 shot Humor at Last's loss. A two-time sprint winner capable of going an opening quarter-mile in less than 22 seconds, Humor at Last galloped along in fourth position, trailing Raving Rocket ($10.60) by several lengths down the backstretch. The favorite got briefly involved at the quarter pole, but flattened out and finished fourth on a dull, seemingly tiring racing surface. It was Win Me Over who turned in the strong late run, closing for second. Royal Flyer was third, followed by Humor at Last and the distant trailer, Five Rubies.

The victory was the third for Raving Rocket, a 3-year-old son of Lil's Lad owned by the Dare to Dream Stable partnership and trained by Larry Rivelli. Raving Rocket won in a splashy debut last May 31 at Arlington, but it was five months and three starts before he scored again here on Oct. 24.

Raving Rocket had finished fourth at Gulfstream Park in his 2005 debut, but Saturday, he and jockey E.T. Baird had things their own way, going an opening half-mile in 49.23 seconds, and six furlongs in 1:14.05 on the way to victory. Raving Rocket was timed in 1:49.19 for 1 1/16 miles.

Princess B G threat as stalker

The trainer Hugh Robertson will have at least a couple decent 3-year-olds this spring. Three Hour Nap, who won the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity last fall, is readying for his 2005 debut at Oaklawn Park. On Friday night, the Illinois-bred Stormy Afternoon finished a good second in an open allowance race at Turfway Park. When Stormy Afternoon moves from Kentucky to Illinois, he will shift from the Robert Desensi barn into Robertson's.

Robertson's 3-year-old for the first race Monday at Hawthorne is female, and not yet anywhere near the class of Three Hour Nap or Stormy Afternoon. But that does not mean Princess B G isn't good enough to win the opener, an entry-level allowance race with a $35,000 claiming option.

Princess B G, who faces only four rivals, showed early speed in her maiden win, but is likely to stalk Mamonia Gold's pace. In her last start, on Oct. 24, Mamonia Gold won her maiden by more than nine lengths, leading virtually all the way, and since she enters this spot off a 33.40-second three-furlong work here March 10, it should be straight to the front for Mamonia Gold.