11/29/2005 1:00AM

Chulita just needs to hold on


ALBANY, Calif. - Will the third time be a charm for Chulita?

A speedy 2-year-old filly, has cut out a fast pace only to fade in the final furlong in her past two starts. On Thursday, she gets her third chance at notching her second career victory in a $40,000 starter allowance at six furlongs.

Once again, she appears to hold the pace advantage.

The possibility of rain before Thursday's race works to her advantage, too, since her pedigree indicates that she will be able to handle the wet track.

Working against her is the fact that the Golden Gate Fields strip, which often favors speed, has been playing quite fairly of late, with closers winning at a much higher rate than usual.

Another possible negative is the presence of My Girl Erin, who has already finished ahead of Chulita twice in their four-race careers.

draws the rail for the second straight race and will need to break a bit better and sit a bit closer to have her best chance here.

Other factors in the race are , who won her second start at the bottom claiming level after losing by 25 lengths in her debut; and Mamita Chula, who just missed as the odds-on favorite in her last start.

Earlier on the card, seven 2-year-old colts meet in an interesting maiden race.

Burning Blur, a half-brother of multiple stakes winner Thresher, seems the one to beat. He ran second in his debut Nov. 6 and came back with a five-furlong bullet drill and an easy half-mile maintenance work. In Saturday's Mill Valley, he dueled with Black Jack Joe, who was part of the pace picture, before faltering.

Valid Prince, who had traffic problems when he was bumped entering the lane in his debut, is another who figures to improve. Also entered is Gone Irish, who beat Valid Prince that day. Gone Irish went off at 15-1, however, and Valid Prince was 7-2.

The entry of Wilmore and Bold Chieftain could also merit consideration. Wilmore was eighth in his debut but came back with a bullet five-furlong work in 58.40 seconds. Bold Chieftain had a 46.40 half-mile bullet work after finishing fourth behind Burning Blur on Nov. 6.