03/17/2007 12:00AM

Rose's Tiger ready despite layoff


OLDSMAR, Fla. - Trainer Dale Bennett enjoys working with young runners with potential, and on Tuesday he will send out just such a horse - Rose's Tiger, a 3-year-old son of the Storm Cat stallion Tiger Ridge who goes after his second win in his last three starts. Tiger Ridge is the probable favorite in a field of 10 in the featured sixth race at a mile on the turf.

Rose's Tiger came to Tampa last December after making his first two starts at Hawthorne, and despite coming off a seven-week layoff, he rallied from just off the pace to win a 1 1/16-mile maiden race on the turf by a half-length. The runner-up in that race, Millennium Jet, came back to win his next start.

In his debut against winners in January, Rose's Tiger again stalked the pace. He drove to the lead but just failed to hold off the winner, Cat Thief. Rose's Tiger finished second, beaten just over a length. Cat Thief came back to win his next outing.

Rose's Tiger has been freshened for eight weeks since that start, but has worked well and looks like the horse to beat on Tuesday. Daniel Centeno returns aboard Rose's Tiger at 118 pounds.

Future Drama, who lost by a neck in his turf debut, appears to be Rose's Tiger's top challenger, along with So Smooth, from the Tony Granitz barn, which has been on fire with its grass runners at this meeting. So Smooth had traffic problems when finishing a close-up fourth in his first start against winners.

Also deserving a long look is Poppas Special, who finished third while facing winners for the first time last out, in the same race where So Smooth ran fourth.

Forbidden Colony, a wire-to-wire winner of his turf debut, is also a contender.

o Jesse Garcia, who rode seven winners during the week of March 6-11, was voted jockey of the month at Tampa Bay Downs. Garcia, who won the 1998 riding title here, has gained momentum after a slow start, and is winning with longshots. His average win payoff is better than 12-1.