02/20/2002 12:00AM

Emergency Status will avoid the front

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Friday's $100,000 Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park will reunite the first three finishers - Worldly Victor, Charming Colony, and Lord Juban - from last month's Dave Feldman Stakes. But it may be the horse who finished sixth that day, Emergency Status, who will spoil the rematch in the Grade 3 turf fixture for 3-year-olds.

Emergency Status set the pace over a deep and tiring turf course in the Dave Feldman before faltering through the final furlong to finish 3 3/4 lengths behind Worldly Victor. And trainer Derek Ryan said Emergency Status will not set the pace again in the Palm Beach.

"The last thing I expected was to see him on the lead in his last race," said Ryan. "But he's a bit of a high-strung horse who can be a wild man in the paddock. The hardest job I have is just getting him saddled and over to the gate. Ability is the least of his problems and I think with more experience he'll settle and become a real nice horse."

Emergency Status won his first two career starts, both on grass, including the World Appeal Stakes at The Meadowlands. He suffered his first defeat when he finished seventh making his south Florida debut in Calder's Mecke Stakes, a key race which produced three next-out winners.

"I put blinkers on him to get him to pay a little more attention because he was all over the place in his first two starts," said Ryan. "Believe me he won't be on the lead Friday if we can help it."

Worldly Victor rallied from mid-pack to run down the leaders and win going away in the Dave Feldman. It was the second victory in three starts for him since he was switched to the turf by trainer Phil Gleaves near the tail end of his 2-year-old campaign. He will have to overcome a tough post (11) in the Palm Beach.

Charming Colony overcame a rough start and traffic troubles down the backstretch to be second in the Dave Feldman. He too has won two of three on grass.

Lord Juban rallied mildly to finish third making his stakes debut in the Feldman.

Orchard Park has won his last two starts with complete authority, including a preliminary allowance race here on Jan. 11. But like Worldly Victor he is far outside, in post 12, for his stakes debut.

Union Place, who shipped down from Canada to win his local debut by four lengths under allowance conditions, is another improving horse.

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