01/20/2005 12:00AM

Cologny ought to assume her usual position


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Something very unusual happened to Cologny when she closed out her 2004 campaign in Aqueduct's Garland of Roses Handicap. She did not make the lead.

finished a tiring sixth as the 6-5 favorite after chasing Forest Music's wickedly fast pace. It marked the first time Cologny had not been in front at some point of a race since Nov. 2003, a span of 17 races.

A similar scenario is not likely to occur Saturday, when Cologny opens her 2005 season in the $100,000 The First Lady Handicap at Gulfstream Park. The New York-bred Cologny should go right to the front and will stand some catching against six other fillies and mares in the six-furlong, Grade 3 stakes.

"I don't think she necessary needs the lead to win. I think she just threw in a bad one last time," said Scott Lake, who claimed Cologny for $25,000 for owner Evan Gewirtz last February. "She had to chase a tough speed horse that day and just didn't fire."

Cologny fired enough times in 2004 to win 7 of 15 starts, including three stakes. The majority of her victories have come from on the front end.

The First Lady could be the final start for Cologny, who is likely to be sent to the breeding shed later this winter.

is among the leading contenders in The First Lady, along with Savorthetime. Feline Story, who last year was second in the Grade 1 Prioress, has been idle since finishing second to Forest Music in the Seton Hall University Stakes at The Meadowlands. She has been working steadily for her local debut at Palm Meadows for trainer Stanley Hough.

Savorthetime will ship in from Fair Grounds. She comes off one of the best efforts of her career, a 2 1/2-length victory in the Dream Supreme Handicap at Churchill Downs.

"This looks like a very competitive race but she's doing well and we sent her here because it was a Grade 3," said trainer Steve Asmussen, who opted not to keep a string at Gulfstream this winter.

Ebony Breeze and Pop Princess will both try to rebound from disappointing performances over a sloppy track in Calder's Grade 3 Chaposa Springs Handicap Dec. 31. Also in the race is Expect an Angel, who registered an upset in the Chaposa Springs when she rallied from the rear of the pack en route to a three-length victory.