12/26/2005 12:00AM

Angelic Morgan L. has a flaw


CHICAGO - Laws of geometry say a horse saving ground on the inside part of the racetrack will have an advantage over one racing on a wider path, and thus running farther. But try to explaining that to a half-ton animal trapped down by the rail and feeling antsy about it.

Some horses simply dislike the claustrophobia sometimes induced by inside position. And on paper, looks like one of them. The last four times he broke from an outside post and didn't get into serious trouble, Angelic Morgan L. finished second three times and first another. In his last five races with an inside draw, he has been fourth, fifth, sixth, and twice seventh.

So, although Angelic Morgan L. might look on the surface like the horse to beat in the featured fourth race Wednesday at Hawthorne, there is a reason to suspect he won't show his best, and that reason is post 4 in a 10-horse field. Angelic Morgan L. wants to race close to the pace, but there are at least two horses drawn to his outside who also figure to show speed. Angelic Morgan L. broke from post 8, raced three wide, and finished second at this second-allowance condition here Dec. 4, but this time his trip may be unfavorable.

Handicappers looking in another direction will find several seeming throwouts in the Wednesday feature, carded for six furlongs. The day begins the final racing week of the season in Chicago, and with no more opportunities locally until the end of February, there are some strange horses in this spot. Evil Tony, for instance, is a first-time starter. Fielding is a 17-time loser who has been competing in Illinois-bred maiden races. Mamonia Gold is a very quick horse, but is a 3-year-old filly facing boys in her first start since April.

More appealing is a two-horse entry from the barn of Kentucky trainer Bernie Flint. Safe Play won a nonwinners-of-two allowance at Mountaineer Park last out by 15 lengths, while Moon Over Miami's most recent start produced a third-place finish in an open $50,000 claimer at Churchill Downs. Moon Over Miami has other contending efforts on his form, and with a closing style that might suit the shape of this speed-filled race, he may just be the right horse.

Unless, of course, one cannot resist the 36 percent win rate of Chicago's leading trainer, Wayne Catalano. Catalano entered Wise Diplomat, a horse whose form appears to be declining, and who has lost five times as the favorite this year. Still, Wise Diplomat is only one race removed from a nose loss at this class level, and he cannot be ignored.