12/29/2004 1:00AM

Alix M may find class gap too wide

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MIAMI - Alix M has quickly risen to the top of the local filly and mare handicap division and as a result was assigned high weight of 120 pounds for Friday's $100,000 Chaposa Springs Handicap. Northern invaders Ebony Breeze and Pop Princess may prove the ones to beat, however, in the seven-furlong Chaposa Springs, which track management moved forward one day on the calendar so it would be run during 2004 and maintain its Grade 3 status.

did not even launch her career until July 10, but since then has captured five of eight starts, including the 6 1/2-furlong Connies Magic Stakes, in which she outgamed D'Wildcat Speed en route to a one-length victory. Alix M had finished second four weeks earlier in the 1 1/16-mile Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap, succumbing in late stretch to the red-hot 3-year-old Hopelessly Devoted after engaging in a speed duel.

Despite her imposing credentials and obvious fondness for her home course, Alix M may be a bit outclassed by Ebony Breeze and Pop Princess.

Ebony Breeze is already a Grade 3 winner this season, having rallied to an easy three-length victory in Delaware Park's Endine Stakes. She also fell a nose short of winning Saratoga's Grade 2 Honorable Miss Handicap earlier in the summer.

A stretch-running daughter of Belong to Me trained by Bill Mott, Ebony Breeze is perfect over the local strip, having won her two previous starts at Calder, including the Grade 3 Azalea Breeders' Cup Handicap by four lengths during the summer of 2003.

Yet despite owning a pair of Grade 3 wins, Ebony Breeze will receive a four-pound weight concession from Alix M Friday, carrying just 116 pounds including rider Jerry Bailey.

Pop Princess has shown marked improvement since trainer Bobby Frankel added blinkers to her equipment for a second-level allowance race at Belmont in early October. Pop Princess scored a 3 3/4-length win that afternoon and stepped up three weeks later to win her next allowance condition. She then moved into Grade 2 stakes company, where she finished a game fourth behind Daydreaming after engaging in an early pace battle in the one-mile Top Flight Handicap.

Pop Princess will receive weight from both Alix M and Ebony Breeze and gets in under 114 pounds with Edgar Prado listed to ride.

Rounding out the starting lineup are Revolutionary Act, a wire-to-wire winner of Turfway Park's Holiday Inaugural Stakes on Dec. 4; the Amy Tarrant-trained entry of Lawful Nice and Habiboo; and first-level allowance winner Expect an Angel.