01/30/2003 12:00AM

Familiar cast of turf challengers


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Last season, the Calder-based Cellars Shiraz dominated the 3-year-old filly turf division in south Florida, beginning with a victory in the $100,000 Herecomesthebride Stakes.

Saturday, another Calder resident, Sweettrickydancer, will attempt to follow in Cellars Shiraz's footsteps when she puts her four race-win streak on the line against 10 others in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride at Gulfstream Park.

Sweettrickydancer will face many of the same foes she defeated when she successfully launched her 3-year-old campaign on New Year's Day with a three-quarter length victory over her home course in the Tropical Park Oaks. It was the second straight stakes triumph for the late running Sweettrickydancer, who also won Calder's Hollywood Wildcat in her 2-year-old finale.

"She doesn't win impressively but she always finds a way to get the job done," said trainer Rodolfo Garcia. "She's done everything well since that last race and win or lose I expect her to give another good effort on Saturday."

Sweettrickydancer isn't the only Calder-based filly who figures among the key contenders in the 1 1/16-mile Herecomesthebride. In fact, she may face her stiffest challenge from old friend Askforaraise, who was beaten a length by Sweettrickydancer in both the Hollywood Wildcat and Tropical Park Oaks.

Devil at the Wire, who finished second despite a troubled trip in the Oaks, also deserves consideration. A daughter of Devil His Due, Devil at the Wire has shown marked improvement since she was equipped with blinkers and paired up with jockey Mark Guidry last fall in Kentucky.

Gal O Gal, like Sweettrickydancer, enters the Herecomesthebride on a roll. She has posted three consecutive victories, including an easy 3 1/2-length decision over $80,000 claiming rivals here Jan. 22. She will get her first real class check Saturday.

"I know she'll be facing a lot better in this race than what she's been beating," said trainer Vinnie Blengs. "But she's good now and getting better and the only way to find out how good she is is to run her in the stakes."

The likely pacesetter in the race is Holiday Runner, who will make both her turf and two-turn debut in the Herecomesthebride. Holiday Runner won two stakes early in her 2-year-old campaign but closed out the year with a 10th following a poor start in the Grade 1 Spinaway.

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