01/01/2008 12:00AM

Brian the Bold tries for streak

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ARCADIA, Calif. - There was a little improvement with Brian the Bold after he was gelded a few starts into his career, then further improvement - capped by a victory - after blinkers were added. Now, trainer Paddy Gallagher hopes winning will prove addictive.

After gradually improving, Brian the Bold broke through in his seventh and most recent start, when he won as the favorite against maidens on Dec. 5 at Hollywood Park. He will seek his second straight win in Thursday's featured seventh race at Santa Anita, a first-level $57,000 allowance at one mile on turf for California-breds.

"Sometimes it takes them a little while to get the message," Gallagher said. "A lot of times, winning seems to bring them on mentally."

Brian the Bold has run his three best races in two-turn grass races. Thursday's race, as with his last start, is at a mile on turf.

"He ran well the other day," Gallagher said. "All his grass races seem a little better than his dirt races. The blinkers probably helped a little, but I think it's just him coming on with his races as much as anything else."

A dozen were entered in the race, and the leading contenders look evenly matched.

Royal Vision, like Brian the Bold, is trying to string together victories after taking several starts - eight in his case - to beat maidens.

Monastery Scandal and Skimmetry are both coming off wins sprinting against Cal-bred maidens.

Monastery Scandal won on Santa Anita's downhill turf course, his lone try on grass. He ran poorly in his only try around two turns, but that was on Polytrack at Del Mar, a surface over which many horses struggled.

Skimmetry won on Cushion Track at Hollywood Park on Nov. 25. In his lone try on grass, he was third in the downhill turf race won by Monastery Scandal.

Mandate to Fly is returning to his best surface after running poorly on Cushion Track at Hollywood Park. An outside post going two turns hindered him in that race. With his form masked a bit, he may offer value, especially if he can run back to his two previous grass races, which include a second-place finish against similar company at Hollywood on Nov. 7.

Made the Finals has sharp early speed and will be the one to catch. He led from start to finish against starter-allowance company here in September before being sent well beyond his range in the 1 1/2-mile California Cup Starter Handicap.

Proud 'n Fabulous is making his first start in 16 months, but has a solid series of works for his comeback for trainer Don Warren, who has an excellent strike rate with horses coming off lengthy layoffs.