05/23/2002 12:00AM

Someone's streak must end


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Key Lory and Pyrus come into Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Red Bank Handicap, the first graded stakes of Monmouth Park's season, with three-race winning streaks on the turf.

Both horses have not lost a turf race in this country. Both achieved their greatest success in a Grade 3 race. And both have won each of their turf starts wire to wire. Something is going to have to give.

"I don't anticipate him being anywhere but on the lead," said trainer Elliott Walden of Pyrus. "He's a very nice horse and we're looking forward to running him in the Red Bank."

Pyrus ran three times as a 2-year-old in Europe for trainer Aidan O'Brien before being purchased by Peter Bradley III and sent to Walden's barn. Pyrus ran once on the dirt as a 3-year-old last year but a chip in an ankle sidelined him for the rest of the season.

He returned to the races this year and won two allowance races at Gulfstream Park before his biggest career victory - the Grade 3 Fort Marcy Handicap at Aqueduct - four weeks ago. Pyrus led every step of the way in each race, including a neck victory over Proud Man in the Fort Marcy. Pyrus will have first shot at the lead in the mile Red Bank, breaking from post 4 with Eibar Coa aboard.

Key Lory, an 8-year-old, made his turf debut a victorious one last year in the Grade 3 Oceanport Handicap here on Aug. 5. He went wire-to-wire in the huge upset, and proved in his two subsequent starts that he is a legitimate turf horse. Trained by Dennis Manning, Key Lory won the Sussex Stakes and Da Hoss Stakes in his next two starts at Delaware and Pimlico, respectively. Key Lory, who will break from post 10 under Harry Vega, has been away from the races since September.

"He'll rate very nicely," Manning said. "My goal with Key Lory this year is the United Nations July 6."

If Pyrus and Key Lory hook up on the front end, a hot pace would benefit the late-running Boastful, who ships here from New York for trainer Bill Mott.

Mott has had tremendous success on the grass here in past years, and with leading jockey Joe Bravo aboard, Boastful is sure to be one of the favorites. Boastful enters the Red Bank, the 10th race on the card, off a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland April 12.

Completing the 10-horse field are One Eyed Joker, Sardaukar, Spruce Run, Dog Tags, Mr. Livingston, Mus-If, and Phi Beta Doc.

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