08/30/2005 12:00AM

'Fenceline' has eye on better

Benoit & Associates
Fencelineneighbor captured the Grade 3 San Gorgonio (above) in January but is winless in her five starts since then.

DEL MAR, Calif. - Owner John Amerman will be in the winner's circle following Thursday's $80,000 Adoration Handicap at Del Mar. The only question is whether he will present the trophy to another owner, or merely move the trophy from one hand to another.

Amerman has a terrific chance to win the Adoration with his mare Fencelineneighbor, who heads the field of five that will compete in the one-mile dirt race. The possibility of winning a race named for a mare he owned - and who won the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting in 2003 - gave Amerman pause, according to Mike Machowsky, who trains Fencelineneighbor.

"It was kind of a sticking point with him regarding running there," Machowsky said. "John feels a little guilty running in a race named after a horse he owned, but I told him I didn't think the race would go if we didn't go."

has bounced between money allowances and second-tier stakes for the past year, in races on both turf and dirt. She was nominated to the Grade 2, $200,000 Palomar Breeders' Cup Handicap this Saturday, but Machowsky thought the Adoration was a better intermediate step.

"She's so versatile - dirt, turf, mud - it helps pick out spots for her," Machowsky said. "If she runs big on Thursday, then we might take a shot in a race like the Lady's Secret at Oak Tree. We'd like to win another graded stakes race with her. It would be nice to win this and use it as a springboard to something else."

Fencelineneighbor won the Grade 3 San Gorgonio at Santa Anita in January, but she is winless in five starts since then. She finished third in a money-allowance race on the turf here on July 21. She drew the outside post on Thursday. Patrick Valenzuela takes over as her rider.

"It looks like we should be on the lead," Machowsky said. "I'm happy we drew post 5."

moves back to the dirt after scoring a 45-1 surprise in the Osunitas Handicap on Aug. 10. She was a four-length winner in a second-level allowance field at Hollywood Park on May 25. Her stalking style figures to put her on or near the lead.

ran on well for second in a sprint on Aug. 4. Her trainer, Ben Cecil, is having an excellent meeting from a small number of starters.

Seeking the Heart is racing on dirt for the first time in 12 starts, since her debut.

Moonlight Cruise was a distant third to Healthy Addiction at Hollywood Park in May. She usually rallies from well off the pace.