12/12/2005 12:00AM

G G's Dolly vulnerable as favorite


CHICAGO - G G's Dolly looked like a lock the last time she raced, but she was beaten Nov. 23 at less than 2-5, and handicappers face the same dilemma in the featured eighth race on Wednesday at Hawthorne.

G G's Dolly figures to be the odds-on favorite once again, but if she was vulnerable last time, might not she be again? The horse who beat her last month, Church's Out, certainly has gotten good this winter, but only two races earlier had been dropped into a $10,000 claimer. That was about the time G G's Dolly was finishing second in a tough Keeneland allowance race, nearly overcoming a poor break and fast early fractions. First or second now in 6 of 7 career starts, G G's Dolly looked like a filly who was at least a full cut above most horses wintering at Hawthorne. She looked that way, at least, until she was beaten last time.

No doubt this is a fast horse. G G's Dolly, trained by Kelly Von Hemel for owner Bill Niedfeldt, has twice earned Beyer Speed Figures over 90, one major reason she has always attracted support in the betting. But her speed also has always been of the brilliant, front-end sort, and she has never passed a horse in the stretch run.

Moreover, G G's Dolly sprinted off to a clear early lead in her most recent start, but Wednesday, in this third-level allowance with a $35,000 claiming option, she might face early pressure from another pure front-runner, Pass the Pepper. Pass the Pepper in fact has been facing higher-class horses than she meets this time, but still has been on the lead after a quarter-mile in her last nine starts. In other words, if G G's Dolly is to outfoot this mare, she'll be flying.

Many sprint winners this meet have come from the second flight of horses, rallying up the rail, and that is the kind of trip Wretched Excess might luck into Wednesday. Second by a neck last time out in a $25,000 claimer, Wretched Excess earns what seems like a positive class hike to $35,000 from trainer Hugh Robertson, and after showing pace and fading late four starts in a row, she came from fourth place with a solid finish in her most recent start.

When Miss Classified, another upset candidate, was last seen, on Aug. 31 at Arlington, she was a sharp winner of an Illinois-bred second-level allowance race. Her trainer, Frank Kirby, excels with layoff horses, and Miss Classified won the last time she returned from a break.