09/11/2006 11:00PM

Stretch-out awakens B. B. best's form


MIAMI - Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. has won 34 races during the current session, but none was more satisfying to him than B. B. Best's wire-to-wire triumph in Saturday's Ambehaving Stakes.

The Ambehaving was B. B. Best's first victory since he captured the In Reality division of the Florida Stallion Stakes nearly two years earlier. A son of Yes It's True,

B. B. Best went on to become one of the leaders of the 3-year-old division early in the 2005 season, following third-place finishes behind High Fly in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth and Grade 1 Florida Derby. But after two six-month layoffs and a string of disappointing efforts, Plesa said he is hoping Saturday's performance is a sign that B. B. Best is back on top of his game again.

"Needless to say he's been a big disappointment, especially over the last eight months, and it's good to get him back on track," Plesa said. "I actually was contemplating gelding him, but finally decided just to give him some time off this winter and spring. He's been so good to me, and I just wanted to cover all the bases. I thought he ran a big race to Nightmare Affair the first time back, and his effort in his race before the Ambehaving wasn't as bad as it looked on paper. I don't know what happened to him at the start that day, and he was coming on strong at the end."

Although he was a capable sprinter at 2, B. B. Best has always been at his best around two turns, and Plesa said he feels that stretching B. B. Best out for the Ambehaving was another reason for the strong effort.

"Getting him back around two turns helped," said Plesa, who trains B. B. Best for his wife, Laurie, and long-time owner Bea Oxenberg. "He took command right from the beginning of the race and won like he was supposed to do. I was really happy for Mrs. Oxenberg, since she's had a dry spell recently, and a win like this was good for her."

Plesa said he has nothing specific picked out for B. B. Best's next outing.

"I'll just start looking at anything that comes up long anytime after three weeks," said Plesa.

Mr. Silver pointing to Needles

Plesa has also brought Mr. Silver back from Monmouth Park with an eye on next week's $100,000 Needles Stakes on the turf. Mr. Silver was among the leaders of the local 2-year-old turf division here last season and continued to perform well early this season, finishing second behind Can't Beat It in the Hallandale Beach at Gulfstream Park and defeating Go Between in the Sophomore Turf Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. Mr. Silver has gone winless in four starts since shipping north during the spring.

"He likes the surroundings down here and hopefully will get back on track in the Needles," said Plesa.

The Needles drew nominations from 21 3-year-olds, including turf stakes winners Croton Road and Gin Rummy King. The race is one of four stakes on the Sept. 23 Festival of the Sun Preview program, along with the $100,000 Judy's Red Shoes on the turf for 3-year-old fillies and the $150,000 Foolish Pleasure and Brave Raj stakes for 2-year-olds.

U Can Do It contenders work

A Sea Trippi and Jewels N Gems, among the leading candidates for Saturday's $100,000 U Can Do It Handicap, both had their final tune-ups for the race over a wet-fast track Tuesday. A Sea Trippi went three furlongs in 36.60 seconds, and Jewels N Gems went a half-mile in 48.60.

Division leader Prospective Saint, who will pass the U Can Do It, also worked earlier Tuesday morning, going an easy four furlongs in 51.