12/14/2004 1:00AM

Tough field assembled for allowance


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Considering the time of year, Thursday's featured eighth race came up tough. The mile and 70-yard two-other-than allowance drew a field of eight, any of which might ordinarily look like a solid contender - but this is a better-than-average group.

comes from relatively humble beginnings, having required eight starts before finally winning a $32,000 maiden claimer at Santa Anita last spring. But he has been on the improve in three starts since shipping to New York and being given over to trainer Bruce Levine.

In his third and most recent local start, Congressional Run stalked a fast pace and drew off to win an entry-level allowance mile on Aqueduct's main track, receiving a lifetime top Beyer Speed Figure of 96.

Congressional Run drew a cozy spot in post 2 for the stretch back to two turns, and figures to get a terrific stalking trip toward the inside as several others battle for the early lead.

The Todd Pletcher-trained Coast Line was away for 14 months following a fourth-place finish in his debut at Saratoga in 2003, and returned to beat $45,000 maiden claimers by more than 10 lengths at Belmont's fall meet, earning a 94 Beyer.

No one claimed Coast Line, and he returned five weeks later at Aqueduct to post another front-running victory, this time against allowance sprinters, running seven furlongs in 1:22 for a Beyer of 98.

stretches out and breaks from post 4, and will look to use his early speed to turn back early challenges from Bornwithit (post 1), Wild Wadi (post 6), and Saratoga Jules, who begins from the far outside. Saratoga Jules has had a clear lead at the first call in each of his last five starts.

The others may benefit from a contested pace. They are: , who three starts back ran second to Cigar Mile winner Lion Tamer in an overnight stakes at Monmouth; Pa Pa Da, who is coming off two straight wins on turf against New York-breds; and the consistent Go Now, who has Beyered in the mid-90's in his last four starts.