04/29/2004 11:00PM

Veteran taking on statebred youngsters

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As is the case with human athletes, age can negatively affect equine athletes. Older runners, often geldings, slow down and gradually descend the claiming ranks. Lucky Bohemian is an exception.

Lucky Bohemian, now 8, has bucked Father Time, showing steady form over the last year. In early 2003, Lucky Bohemian earned the highest Beyer Speed Figure of his career, a 96, winning an open $10,000 claimer at Oaklawn by over seven lengths. This spring, Lucky Bohemian was still running for a $10,000 tag at Oaklawn.

While he may be a $10,000 horse in open company, Lucky Bohemian has proved to be competitive allowance runner in the Texas-bred ranks. He will be out to avenge a narrow defeat earlier this meet in Sunday's featured fourth race at Lone Star, a $27,000 two-other-than allowance for Texas-breds at six furlongs.

Lucky Bohemian, a 9-1 outsider in a two-other-than allowance on April 16, was up near the pace in the early going and made a bid for the lead at the top of the stretch. He assumed command with a furlong to go, but was worn down by Aledo Pass, who won by three-quarters of a length.

Lucky Bohemian has five opponents, all of whom were born after he started his racing career. The youngest, Goosey Moose, is an April foal barely past his third birthday. He has shown a lot of potential, however, having lost two stakes earlier this year by a neck. Goosey Moose finished fourth in the April 16 allowance, but was compromised by a bump at the start.

Normally a front-runner, Goosey Moose will likely show speed with a clean break. In so doing, he will have to deal with Tis a Star, who finished a badly beaten 12th in the April 16 allowance after setting torrid fractions of 22 seconds and 44.20. Tis a Star, who breaks closest to the rail on Sunday, worked a bullet five furlongs earlier this week in 59.20 seconds.

Setthehook owns the highest last-race Beyer Figure, 77, for his runner-up effort against open $20,000 claimers on April 15, his first start in nearly three months. Setthehook hasn't competed in a Texas-bred allowance race since July 2003, when he finished a close third in a two-other-than over the Lone Star turf course.