01/08/2002 1:00AM

Aussie Girl has explosive late move


ALBANY, Calif. - Trainer Dennis Patterson won't say that Aussie Girl has given him gray hairs, but he won't deny it, either.

Aussie Girl's running style, from well off the pace, can give trainers, not to mention bettors, gray hairs or worse. But she has such a strong closing kick and will to win that she has seven victories in 18 starts and has won both of her starts at Golden Gate Fields.

She will try to go 3 for 3 at Golden Gate in Thursday's feature, a $40,000 optional claiming race at one mile.

Patterson is surprisingly confident even though Demo Memo, the only filly to beat Aussie Girl since he claimed her, is also in the field.

"Having to run her in tougher races might help her," Patterson said. "In tougher races, there's usually more speed and a faster pace. There's a possibility, because of that, it won't be that big a disadvantage for her to step up."

Aussie Girl was a $16,000 claim by Patterson on April 25 at Hollywood Park for the Car-Den Racing Stable. She's won three of four since, including an allowance victory in her last start, when she made an explosive move in the lane to win by three.

"The credit for the claim goes to Dennis and Carol Yokum," Patterson said of Aussie Girl's owners. "They picked her out."

When Aussie Girl arrived at Patterson's barn, he gave her a brief freshener that turned into an almost five-month vacation.

"She was ready to come back in June, but the races failed to fill, so she went another couple months without running," he said. "Looking back now, that may have benefited her."

In deference to Aussie Girl's late-running style, Patterson tries to keep her going with long, slow runs and doesn't ask for much speed in her works.

Aussie Girl should have help against Demo Memo in Thursday's race. While Demo Memo should take the lead, Navy R. N., Gifted Daughter, Ida, and Princess Vye all have contending speed, with Dream Every Dream coming from off the pace.

Deep closers such as Aussie Girl are often among the most popular runners at any track. If Aussie Girl can continue to win, Patterson thinks she will become a fan favorite.

"She's got an exciting style to watch, although it wasn't necessarily planned that way," he said. "I wouldn't be surprised if she develops a fan club."

* Phase two of an auction to support the Glen Ellen Vocational Academy runs from Wednesday through Jan. 19. Glen Ellen cares for injured and retired racehorses. Stallions available for bids and information on the auction are listed on the Glen Ellen website at Glenellenfarms.com/GEVA.

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