03/30/2004 1:00AM

'Fabulous' shot at upset


ARCADIA, Calif. - Despite a combined record of 12 wins from 55 starts, Kedington and Quilimanque remain eligible to the first allowance condition. As such, the geldings present horseplayers with a dilemma in the seventh-race feature on Thursday at Santa Anita.

qualifies Thursday in his fifth start, though his speed figures place him at a disadvantage.

So the handicapping dilemma is clear: Bet one of the two fastest horses at low odds, or wager on an improving longshot whose tactical speed might allow him to have the jump on the favorites. Nine older horses entered the $52,000 allowance, and the high-figure horses will rule the wagering. As usual.

Kedington was claimed one year ago for $16,000 and has earned more than $156,000 since then. A 5-year-old California-bred trained by Rafael Becerra, Kedington has earned Beyer Figures of 96 or higher in his last five starts, typically good enough to win a first-level allowance at Santa Anita. To win, Kedington and jockey Tyler Baze must rally from behind in a race that does not figure to unfold at a particularly fast pace. Kedington has won 7 of 24.

Quilimanque was going nowhere until trainer John Dolan dropped him into a $20,000 claiming race Dec. 28. The import from Chile pressed a hot pace and won at odds of 5-1, then returned three weeks later to rally from behind and win by three at odds of 8-1. Quilimanque finished second under one-other-than conditions last out, as his Beyer Figure returned to his typical 86.

Lightly raced gelding Fabulous West offers handicappers established ability, upward potential, and price. But he must improve in order to win. Trained by Richard Matlow, Fabulous West finished in midpack in his Jan. 3 comeback sprint. He stretched out and missed by a length in a maiden race Jan. 29, then scored by a neck on Feb. 29. It was 4 1/2 lengths farther back to third place.

Fabulous West and jockey David Flores will be positioned in front of the favorites, and the 4-year-old's odds will be considerably higher than the chalk's. Fabulous West is positioned to score a mild upset. Completing the field are Juan, Antaeus, Seattlespectacular, Chester's Choice, and Blue Blood Boot.