09/09/2002 11:00PM

Door open for Swinging Gate


CHICAGO - The door stands wide open for Swinging Gate to score another comfortable allowance win Thursday at Arlington. A two-length winner of a second-level allowance here Aug. 14, Swinging Gate faces six opponents in a third-level allowance that seems no tougher than a race she easily won about a month ago.

There's also the Tom Amoss factor. After starting slowly at Arlington while winding up an excellent Churchill meeting, Amoss has caught fire again during the last month. With 13 wins he is climbing through the trainer standings, though the barn's 27 percent strike rate still somehow manages to fall below Amoss's season mark, a gaudy 29 percent.

Swinging Gate should add to that in Thursday's seventh race. Amoss has only trained her for 5 of her 16 starts, but during that time the filly - owned by John Franks - has tallied two of her three wins. As much as anything, distance was the key to Swinging Gate. After running in two-turn races much of her career, Swinging Gate tried a one-turn mile at Churchill May 26 and ran like a wild horse, exploding to a six-length win over a solid field.

Her next step was a backward one, a fifth-place, 10-length loss in her first start at Arlington, but the explanation was simple. Swinging Gate does best when she rates off the pace and makes a swooping run on the turn. In the July 20 loss, she pressed a fast half-mile pace and faded in the stretch.

"She has to be ridden a certain way," Amoss said. "I think she has to be conserved and made one big run with. We're still learning about her."

Miss Guts can be Swinging Gate's exacta partner if she can stretch her speed from sprints to a mile. In from Prairie Meadows for trainer Ray Tracy, Miss Guts won a stakes race at Horsemen's Park two starts ago and has held good form all summer. She clearly is the speed of this race and will be on the lead - the question is how effectively jockey Chris Emigh can ration her speed.

Glitter Gulch was relentless in a first-level allowance win during this meet's first week and came right back with another allowance win, but after two months on the shelf she managed only an even third last time out in a slowish race at this class level.

Vibes has won two straight statebred races, earning a test against open allowance company a similar class jump Ioya Two failed to negotiate in her last race.

Harlan Ash has a reasonable chance at second, while White O Morn is this field's outsider.

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