12/15/2004 1:00AM

Slow-starting closer has shot


CHICAGO - Peck around a little, and you can find kernels of interest even in the dead of winter at Hawthorne. Take the matchup in Friday's featured sixth race between one of the fastest Indiana-breds in training and one of the slowest gate horses in Chicago.

These two, Call Roy and Jack of My Heart, are among the nine horses entered in a second-level, six-furlong allowance, the highest-class race on Friday's 10-race Friday program, a twilight card not by design, but because darkness starts descending around 3 o'clock this time of year in the Windy City.

Call Roy trains in Louisville with Jeff Talley, but he has made his last four starts at Hoosier Park, the right place for an Indiana-bred to be. And if you are handicapping the race strictly through Beyer Speed Figures, Call Roy is your horse. Blowing out Indiana-bred maidens and entry-level allowance foes, Call Roy earned Beyer Figures of 96 and 90. Finishing third in the $40,000 Brickyard, he got a 91, the same figure assigned for his second a month ago in the $40,000 To Much Coffee Stakes.

But big Beyers at Hoosier have a way of deflating when a horse takes his form to a different racetrack - say, Hawthorne. Attentive players will note that the To Much Coffee winner, Tin Man Commin, raced ineffectively when he returned to Hawthorne earlier this month.

If Call Roy breaks sharply, he could add fuel to the pace, and a hot pace that deadens the speed horses is the only way Jack of My Heart is going to win. This horse, an Illinois-bred, basically falls out of the gate, often trailing the early leaders by 15, even 20 lengths. Stuck in the middle of many route races is a Nov. 7 sprint, where he came from 20 lengths back to lose by a half-length in a decent Illinois-bred second-level allowance. In fact, Jack of My Heart might actually come home faster in sprints than routes, and if you think Mr Big Time, Timely Ending, Asailortorember, and Call Roy are going to battle on the front end, give Jack of My Heart and Casanova Slammer, another closing type, a long look.

Barken probably won't go in Futurity

Expect a full field of 14 Saturday in the $100,000-added Jim Edgar Futurity for Illinois-bred 2-year-old males. Which 14 are entered, however, remains to be seen.

There will be several exclusions from the Edgar, which is contested at 1 1/16 miles, with preference given to maiden winners. Ten winners are considered likely to run, with the other slots in the race determined by earnings.

Likely out of the Edgar is Barken, one of the more talented horses nominated. Barken hasn't raced since a maiden win in his second start last July, but trainer Tom Swearingen had been gearing him up for the Edgar.

"This morning he had a little pressure in his ankles," Swearingen said Wednesday. "I was hoping to breeze him tomorrow. Now, I'd say it's probably a 'no' for the race."

Topping the prospective Edgar field are Humor at Last, Win Me Over, Dr. Hocking, and the talented maiden Fielding.