08/20/2004 11:00PM

Drysdale duo highly capable

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DEL MAR, Calif. - One day later than originally scheduled, and without the distinction of running in a stakes, six fillies and mares will start in a $75,000 race over 1 3/8 miles on turf at Del Mar on Monday.

The race was originally offered as the Thoroughbred Owners of California and California Thorough-bred Trainers Handicap for Sunday. But the race failed to draw sufficient entries Thursday and was offered again as an allowance race for Monday.

The resulting race feels more like an allowance race than a minor stakes. Trainer Neil Drysdale has two starters - . Both could use the race as a springboard to stakes.

None of the six fillies and mares is coming off a win. The other entrants are Cozie Advantage, Daisyago, Joyful Ballad, and Lady Thatcher.

Stage Shy might be a slight favorite over Arabic Song.

Stage Shy has won 3 of 7 starts, including 2 of 3 starts in this country. She won consecutive allowance races over 1 1/4 and 1 1/8 miles on turf at Santa Anita before finishing a disappointing fourth in an allowance race at Hollywood Park on May 27, her most recent start.

"I thought the ground was too hard for her at Hollywood," Drysdale said.

Arabic Song has run on this course in the past, having finished third in the 2002 San Clemente Handicap and winning the restricted Osunitas Handicap here last year.

Arabic Song has made two starts this year, finishing third in the Grade 2 Santa Ana Handicap at Santa Anita on March 27 and fourth as the odds-on favorite in the Grade 3 Yerba Buena Breeders' Cup Handicap at Bay Meadows on May 8.

Drysdale was hoping that Arabic Song could be ready for the Mabee Handicap in late July but she wasn't. He said the Palomar Breeders' Cup Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on turf on Sept. 4 "may be too short for her."

"This is an experiment," he said. "We want to see if she can go that far."

Arabic Song tried 1 1/4 miles on turf at 3, finishing sixth in the American Oaks after racing near the lead at the eighth pole.

Of the other four runners, Cozie Advantage and Daisyago have run well in longer turf races in the past. Cozie Advantage scored her most recent win in an allowance race over 1 1/4 miles on turf at Belmont Park last year. Daisyago was second over 1 3/8 miles on turf at Churchill Downs in May.