10/08/2002 12:00AM

Redhead Riot more focused


ELMONT, N.Y. - The improving Redhead Riot will try to take another step back toward stakes company on Thursday when she heads a $54,000 classified allowance that serves as Belmont Park's featured race on a nine-race card.

Redhead Riot, a 3-year-old daughter of Top Account, has won three of her last four starts, including 2 of 3 since the addition of blinkers. Trainer Laurie Lafavers received permission from the stewards to equip Redhead Riot with blinkers on Aug. 4 even though she had won her previous start without them.

"She won without the blinkers, but she lost her run," said Lafavers, who took over the training of Leonard Imperio's horses after his death earlier this year. "I think the blinkers made her focus a little bit more."

Redhead Riot's only loss in her last four starts came in the Miss Woodford Stakes at Monmouth Park where she stumbled at the start, regained her footing, and then bobbled again.

Redhead Riot bounced back off that effort winning a third-level allowance race here on Sept. 19 by 3 1/4 lengths. She covered six furlongs in 1:09.90 and received a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 104.

Lafavers said she was pleased to see Redhead Riot was able to sit off another horse in that race, something she hadn't done successfully in the past.

"I think that's a positive we can sort of work with rather than thinking every time she runs she has run to the front," Lafavers said.

The pacesetter in that Sept. 19 race, Rose Frances, is in this field. The runner-up from that race, Svea Dahl, won here last week.

Running back three weeks off a lifetime best performance, there is always the fear of regression. Lafavers said all she can do is go by how her horse is acting and training.

"She's training well, she's happy, she's eating," Lafavers said. "She's really honest."

Lafavers said should Redhead Riot run well on Thursday, she could consider running back in the First Flight Handicap at Aqueduct on Oct. 26 or wait for the Garland of Roses on Dec. 14 over the inner track.

Silk Concorde makes her second start off a layoff for trainer Stanley Hough. Away from the races for a year, Silk Concorde caught a sloppy track and a razor sharp Harmony Lodge in her return when finishing last at Saratoga. She definitely deserves a second chance.

Bella Rouge returns from a two-month freshening off a terrible race at Saratoga. But, trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. does well with horses returning off extended layoffs and Bella Rouge has the services of Jerry Bailey.

Crafty Getaway and Bonefide Reason complete the field.

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