07/28/2004 11:00PM

Retama: Turf stakes wide open


Bettors will have their work cut out trying to sort through the $50,000 Retama Park Turf Breeders' Cup, a 1 1/16-mile stakes. A field of 11 was entered, and many have a legitimate shot.

The likely favorites include Fly Slama Jama, April's Lucky Boy, and Virginia Pride. Fly Slama Jama, who captured the restricted Texas Hall of Fame Stakes over the local turf last fall, won his first race since then in a third-level allowance at the end of the Lone Star meet. Though he led throughout to win that day, he is not a one-dimensional runner.

April's Lucky Boy, a close fourth in this stakes last year, has maintained good form while competing in allowances and similar small stakes. He had a useful prep for this when second in a five-furlong turf sprint at Lone Star.

Virginia Pride stepped up from a high-end claiming race to finish second in the Independence Handicap at Louisiana Downs in his most recent start. He has enjoyed positive form throughout the summer, but has shown a tendency to settle for minor awards during his career.

Honorable Pic, a former Calder mainstay, is making his second start following an extended layoff and figures to improve off a solid second in his comeback race at Lone Star. Lights on Broadway, a narrowly beaten third in the Bob Johnson Memorial last out, should be considered if the race gets switched to the main track.