03/07/2007 12:00AM

Samba Jones attempting four in row


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Rick Hiles is the newly elected president of the Kentucky Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association. He's not doing too badly these days in Florida, either.

Hiles, who won only seven races throughout all of 2006, started out the new year winning with the first four horses he started during the current Gulfstream Park campaign. Two of those victories came from the much-improved Samba Jones, who will shoot for his fourth consecutive triumph and third for Hiles in Friday's $48,000 allowance feature.

Hiles claimed Samba Jones out of a win for $25,000 at Churchill Downs on Nov. 9. In two subsequent starts since changing barns, Samba Jones has won a $40,000 claiming dash here by one length and a second-level optional claiming dash by a widening 1o1/4 lengths on Jan. 31. He will return under the same allowance conditions under a $62,500 claiming price on Friday.

Samba Jones's best Beyer Speed Figure before coming under Hiles's tutelage was the 88 he got finishing third against statebred opposition at Lone Star in July. He has earned marks of 95 and 97 for his two local victories.

Despite his solid form, Samba Jones may be the second choice behind old pro Tour of the Cat, who can become racing's newest millionaire with a win or second-place finish on Friday. Tour of the Cat is dropping in company off a third-place finish against much tougher third-level optional claiming competition one month earlier.

Robbies Charm, who finished a game second behind Samba Jones in their previous encounter, will attempt to avenge that setback for trainer Steve DiMauro. Robbies Charm has had a race under his belt since the pair's first meeting, finishing third after losing considerable ground going seven furlongs on Feb. 17.

Winnies Tigger Too and Disco's Son dueled one another into submission battling for the lead going seven furlongs three weeks ago, and they could be destined for a similar fate as they hook up again on Friday.

Almost Certain will be trying allowance company for the first time since the summer of his 2-year-old campaign. He finished a distant sixth in the 2006 Hutcheson Stakes.

Charismatic Cat, the one unknown factor in the race, is making his U.S. debut and first start since July of 2005.