06/08/2005 11:00PM

Is the third time a charm for Private Lap?


Private Lap fell a neck short of winning the Brandywine Handicap in 2003. Last year, he came within a neck of winning the same stakes.

Back for a third crack at the $100,000 Brandywine on Saturday at Delaware Park, Private Lap at least won't have to face either Bowman's Band or Loving, the horses who narrowly beat him the past two years.

In their place, however, are Super Frolic and Clays Awesome, both of whom have the credentials to play spoiler to Private Lap this time.

Returning after 4 1/2 months off to heal a quarter crack and a hoof wall separation, Private Lap won a one-mile allowance at Delaware May 24, earning a 102 Beyer Speed Figure.

A definite horse for the course, Private Lap has been first or second in 12 of 14 starts at Delaware - 9 of them wins.

"He's coming into this race exceptionally well," said Steve Klesaris, the trainer of Private Lap. "We're expecting a big race from him."

will need to be at his best in the 1 1/16-mile Brandywine if he is to beat both Clays Awesome, who has been competitive in his last three starts against Grade 3 company, and Super Frolic, a stakes winner who earned a 106 Beyer in his most recent start.

, who scratched out of an allowance at Pimlico on Thursday in favor of this spot, most recently finished second, beaten 2 1/2 lengths by Zakocity, in the Schaefer Handicap on the Preakness undercard. Before that, he was second in the Fifth Season and a close fourth in the Razorback Handicap, both at Oaklawn Park.

will be making his first start since he was sold by trainer Milt Wolfson to owner Robert Cole Jr. and transferred to Howard Wolfendale's barn. In Florida, where he has made all but one of his 26 career starts, Super Frolic has won three stakes at Calder since July 2004 and lost by a head in the Grade 3 Spend a Buck Handicap.

The Lady's Groom comes back 12 days after winning an overnight stakes at Delaware by a nose, ending a 10-race losing streak that dated to April 2004.

"He's coming back on short rest, but he has handled that before," said trainer Michael Gorham. "His last race was more typical of him. He went to the lead and kind of slowed the pace down to have enough to hang on late battling down the lane. There is lot of pace in this race - a lot more than his last race. Hopefully, this race will set up right for him."

Gorham has also entered Trapped Again but said he will probably run him in an allowance Sunday.