03/11/2003 1:00AM

Banished Lover resurfaces

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Now that trainer Michael Matz has found the Gulfstream Park winner's circle, he would like to become a more frequent visitor.

Sunday, Matz broke an 0-for-27 skid at the meet when he saddled Political Attack to victory in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf Handicap. While the stakes won't be as high Thursday, Matz hopes to be just as successful when he sends out Banished Lover in the day's feature, a $38,000 second-level allowance race for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles.

Banished Lover has not run since June 11 when she took an entry-level allowance race by 3 1/2 lengths at Delaware Park. A month earlier, Banished Lover won her maiden by 18 3/4 lengths.

Following that early success, Banished Lover "banged herself a little bit,'' Matz said, which forced him to back off the filly's training. When Matz thought he finally had Banished Lover ready to run near the end of the Delaware meet, he discovered that she had an entrapped epiglottis and had the filly undergo surgery.

In January, when Matz again felt he had Banished Lover ready, he discovered the filly had again entrapped her epiglottis and a second surgery was needed.

"The slot underneath the epiglottis, they didn't cut it far enough,'' Matz said.

Matz believes those problems are behind Banished Lover, a 5-year-old daughter of Devil His Due. Matz believes the filly has talent, but his main fear Thursday is if her late-running style can win at Gulfstream.

"I think she's a real nice filly," Matz said. "It happens that she comes from off the pace and I'm a little worried that the speed might run away from her.''

There is not a lot of speed in the six-horse field. Trainer Jonathan Sheppard sends out La Picara, who pressed the pace in a second-level allowance race at Delaware last November before settling for second. Sheppard takes the blinkers off the 6-year-old La Picara, signaling he might want to see her come from off the pace.

Absolutely Lovely has been beaten twice at this condition at this meet. Devon Rose goes turf to dirt and shows a gate to wire win - albeit for a maiden claiming tag of $45,000 - over the Gulfstream main track.

Call an Audible, coming off a victory in an optional claimer Feb. 20, figures to go off the favorite. Both of her career victories have come at Gulfstream, she shows a bullet work at Payson Park, and retains Jerry Bailey.

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