12/13/2007 1:00AM

Whiskey Lit back from layoff

EmailWhiskey Lit, who roared from well off the pace to post a mild upset in the Sophomore Stakes on Florida Cup Day here last spring, makes his first start since finishing third in the June 2 Spend a Buck Stakes at Monmouth when he tops a solid field in a 6 1/2-furlong second-level optional claimer at Tampa Bay Downs.

Carlos Montalvo, who rode Whiskey Lit in his first four starts, will be reunited with the Florida-bred Fortunate Prospect colt at 116 pounds under the allowance conditions of the feature.

In his fifth start, Whiskey Lit won the seven-furlong Sophomore when he got through along the rail into the stretch and pulled away under jockey Rajiv Maragh to post a 2 1/2-length upset at 8-1. In the eight-furlong Spend a Buck, Whiskey Lit raced close up before weakening in the stretch and finishing third to Nerve.

Trained by Jane Cibelli, Whiskey Lit has posted three solid workouts here for his return, and there is more than enough speed in this field to set things up for his late-running style.

I'vegottabeme, a consistent runner who has finished no worse than fourth in six career starts, including a trio of wins, tops the challengers under Tammi Piermarini at 116 pounds.

Another contender is Irish Gentleman, who won his first two races at Monmouth and Philadelphia Park before trying stakes company. He finished fourth in the Grade 3 Leonard Richards at Delaware Park and eighth in the Jersey Derby on the turf at Monmouth. Dean Butler pilots Irish Gentleman at 118 pounds.

* Lil's Lassie, who won her first three career starts here in eye-catching fashion last season, returns to action in the co-featured 10th race at six furlongs.