01/04/2005 1:00AM

'Clickety' can handle wet track

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ALBANY, Calif. - Trainers and handicappers have plenty of theories about why some horses run well on wet tracks.

"Probably none of them like the mud. Some just handle it better," said trainer Dennis Ward.

, whom Ward trains, is one who, if she doesn't like the mud, at least handles it well. That could serve her well in Thursday's Golden Gate Fields feature, a $50,000 optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles for fillies and mares.

Clickety Cat has seven rivals, and her three victories on wet tracks match the total for Devil Dancing, the only other mare in the field with a wet-track win.

Four of Clickety Cat's eight career victories have come at Golden Gate Fields. The rest of the field totals six, four by Devil Dancing.

"I hate to run on wet tracks," said Ward. "She's the only one in my barn who is running in the mud. She's got those little, tiny deer feet, so maybe she skips over the track. She's not one of those big flat-footed types that does well on the turf but seems to get stuck in the mud."

Not all wet tracks are alike, but Clickety Cat has won on wet surfaces that normally favor front-runners, even though her style is to come off the pace.

is a front-running type who probably will go off the favorite, but she will be pushed by Lyin Goddess, who is speedy enough to go wire to wire. Lyin Goddess just chased Clickety Cat in the last race for both. Lyin Goddess broke so slowly that instead of challenging for the lead she brought up the rear and was far back through the opening half-mile. She made a sustained mid-race move before faltering late to finish third. Clickety Cat was second, nine lengths in front of Lyin Goddess.

With a clean break, Lyin Goddess will be able to challenge Devil Dancing for the lead.

, who has won two straight, will be sitting just off the pace, as will Jacobs Smile. Both should make their presence felt approaching the lane.

At the same time, Clickety Cat will be unleashing her closing charge and should have plenty in reserve after what could be a brisk pace duel.

Ward says Clickety Cat is healthy and fit, with an easy maintenance drill since her last race Dec. 15.