04/21/2004 11:00PM

Closers have advantage


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Given that three of the nine starters in Saturday's $150,000 B. Thoughtful Stakes are one-dimensional front-runners, analysis of the seven-furlong race is really not that tough. A handicapper can start by downgrading the chances of the pacesetters.

"It's going to be very hard for us to win this race," said trainer Steve Knapp, whose Icantgoforthat will have plenty of company on the front. "She's pretty much one-dimensional. She has to go, we're going to go, and there's [other] lick in there."

Is there ever. Along with speed demons Grant Marty a Wish and Princess V., Icantgoforthat figures to set a killer pace in the B. Thoughtful, race 4 on the Gold Rush card at Hollywood Park. The B. Thoughtful is a seven-furlong race for fillies and mares that sets up perfectly for likely favorite Bear Fan and improving Summer Wind Dancer. Longshot closers include Royally Chosen, Cyber Slew, Tucked Away, and Bold Roberta.

With or without an advantageous pace scenario, Bear Fan would be favored. Winner of the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie at Laurel two starts ago, the 5-year-old followed with a one-length win March 17 in a downhill sprint at Santa Anita. Overall, the Wesley Ward-trained Bear Fan, by Pine Bluff, has won six races and $408,150 in 10 starts.

Mike Smith rides Bear Fan, who will be favored despite recent Beyer Speed Figures in the low 90's that suggest she has lost a step since early in her career. There is an attractive parimutuel alternative in Summer Wind Dancer, who earned a career-best Beyer last out, in her first start since being transferred to trainer Jeff Mullins. Summer Wind Dancer, a 4-year-old by Siberian Summer, was Grade 1-placed for trainer Jenine Sahadi as a 2-year-old but had not won since fall 2002 when her owners asked Mullins to take her.

"She came to me in good health," Mullins said. "Then she had a little infection, and we lost little time with her. She got over that and she just started to bloom."

Mullins had been training Summer Wind Dancer for six weeks when she added blinkers and entered a restricted two-turn stakes at Santa Anita.

Despite no pace to run at, she lost by only a head while five lengths clear of third. Summer Wind Dancer will need further improvement to win Saturday - her career-best Beyer is only 92 - but indications are that she will continue her upward pattern. She has won three races and $320,602 from 13 starts. Victor Espinoza rides the filly, whose off-the-pace style is well suited to the likely fast pace.

Late-runner Tucked Away won a maiden race on the 2003 Gold Rush card, and has a chance to hit the board at a big price in a race that has pace meltdown written all over it.

Royally Chosen appears off form, having finished last as the 8-5 favorite last out. Cyber Slew's recent form is acceptable, and she should appreciate a return to the main track. Bold Roberta's deep-closing style works in her favor.