04/25/2005 11:00PM

Comes down to speed vs. experience


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Bridal Gal is the fastest horse in the featured eighth race Thursday night at Lone Star Park, but she has the least amount of turf experience. Marfa's Taxes is a turf specialist and has the most wins of any horse in the field, but she gives up recency to all of her rivals because she has not raced since November.

Those are just some of the variables that make the eighth, a 7 1/2-furlong optional claiming race for fillies and mares, a handicapping puzzle. The claiming price is $50,000, and the purse for the race is $31,500.

is making a rare appearance on turf Thursday. She has made just three career starts on the grass, with her best finish a third in her turf debut in September 2003. She is also stretching out around two turns after running in sprints her two last starts. Bridal Gal's last two wins have come around one turn, both in front-running fashion, in allowances at Sam Houston Race Park.

Bridal Gal drew the rail Thursday and figures to be prominently involved in front. Her lone possible pace challenger is Sapphires N Halos, who last raced Nov. 21. A five-time winner on dirt, Bridal Gal will be ridden by Adrian Ramos for Gary Hunt and trainer Mark Whitton.

makes her first start since Nov. 20, when she rallied from a stalking position to score a half-length win in the $50,000 San Jacinto for Texas-breds during Texas Champions Day at Sam Houston.

Marfa's Taxes has won on yielding to firm turf and was flattered following the San Jacinto when runner-up Nancibegood returned to win her next start. An eight-time winner on turf, including one at Lone Star in June 2003, Marfa's Taxes prepared for her comeback with works at Delta Downs and Lone Star. Paul Duhon trains Marfa's Taxes for Jeffrey Kass and has given the mount to Jeremy Beasley.

invades from Fair Grounds, where she was fifth last out in an optional claimer on dirt. She gets back to turf, site of some of her best recent races, and owns some of the field's best Beyer Speed Figures, with her career-best an 87. Cliff Berry has the mount for trainer Al Stall Jr.

Others in the seven-horse field include Leo's Baroness, who was sixth last out in the $75,000 Irving Distaff at Lone Star on April 16. She will be making her second start on Lasix and will be ridden by Casey Lambert for trainer Steve Akin.