11/27/2007 12:00AM

Fillies face contrasting problems

EmailSTICKNEY, Ill. - For Little Star, it's the end of the race that's the question. For the filly Golden Karlie, the issue is the start. If both horses can overcome their particular challenges, each could win an allowance race on Thursday at Hawthorne.

Little Star goes in race 4, a second-level Illinois-bred allowance carded for 1 1/16 miles. And the distance is of paramount importance.

A sprinter in her first eight starts, the 3-year-old filly Little Star stretched out to two turns in her most recent race, finishing fourth on Oct. 31, and showing just enough to make one think she could do better. Third in the early going that day, Little Star moved to the lead before the far turn - and perhaps moved too soon. The pace was fast by Hawthorne route standards, and come midstretch, Little Star was laboring.

Still, Little Star didn't fall completely apart. She held fourth, beaten a little more than six lengths, and in Thursday's race, there may be less early speed than Little Star lined up against last time. Jockey Eddie Razo may be able to ease Little Star onto the early lead, and might back up the pace while holding a clear advantage. Give her that kind of trip, and Little Star can win.

Absolutely Ali could be favored. She was fifth at this same class level last time out, but that was a grass race, and Absolutely Ali does better on dirt. Thursday's distance, however, might be farther than her best.

As for Golden Karlie, who faces entry-level allowance sprinters in race 8, her troubles have occurred coming out of the gate. In her last three starts, she has broken 11th of 12, 10th of 11, and last of six. But could it be synthetic-track racing as much as gate issues that has bedeviled Golden Karlie? Those same three starts came on Polytrack, and the last time Golden Karlie raced on conventional dirt she won a maiden race here by more than five lengths.

Golden Karlie, in from Fairmount Park for trainer John Wainwright, is hardly the only way to go in Thursday's eighth, since 11 other fillies were entered. C C Phone Home sharply won a $25,000 maiden claimer in her most recent start, but may get a much less favorable trip from the rail here. Like Golden Karlie, Rite Moment may have been compromised by a tardy start in her most recent outing, a distant second-place finish here.