01/09/2003 12:00AM

Daddy Cool has competition

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Horses are animals, not machines, so they don't run the same race every time. Except for Daddy Cool, that is.

Since coming to Dickie Small's barn from Canada in the fall, the 5-year-old Daddy Cool has won three straight route races at Laurel Park, earning a 95 Beyer Speed Figure each time. Most recently, he cruised to a three-length, wire-to-wire victory despite stumbling at the start of the Walter Haight Handicap.

Daddy Cool will try to make it 4 for 4 in Maryland and stretch his overall winning streak to five races in Saturday's $75,000 Native Dancer at Laurel.

As good as Daddy Cool has been, if he runs his usual 95 Beyer, he may not win. There are three opponents in the lineup of seven older horses going 1 1/8 miles who recently have flirted with triple digit Beyer Figures.

P Day may have lost a step at age 8, but as his record of 10 wins in 26 starts at Laurel demonstrates, he's dangerous anytime he runs over his favorite course. Nine furlongs isn't P Day's best distance, but he was good enough to run back-to-back Beyers of 103 and 109 at 1 1/8 miles last year. The 109 was a career high.

Full Brush, the other 8-year-old in the field, finished second in the Haight, but his closing kick was undoubtedly hampered when Daddy Cool was allowed to loaf on the lead through extremely slow fractions.

Pickupspeed has been freshened for a month after finishing third, earning a 99 Beyer, in the Great State Challenge Classic at Sam Houston. Like Full Brush, Pickupspeed needs sufficient early pace to set up his late rally.

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