03/24/2007 12:00AM

Gadolinium shortens up, takes drops


OLDSMAR, Fla. - Gadolinium, who challenged to the late stages of the Wayward Lass Stakes earlier this month before weakening to finish third, moves to an easier level of competition on Tuesday when she tops a field of seven fillies and mares in the seven-furlong, $62,500 optional claiming feature at Tampa Bay Downs.

Daniel Centeno, who continues to lead the rider standings in races won in North America returns aboard Gadolinium, the 122-pound highweight.

The top challengers to the Manuel Criollo-trained Gadolinium are Zooming By, who makes her first start since finishing third to Summer Cruise in the Manatee Stakes, and Nijinsky Bullet, who returns to a sprint after running ninth in the two-turn Wayward Lass. Two starts back, Nijinsky Bullet disputed the pace to upper stretch in the Florida Distaff Breeders Stakes at Ocala before finishing third.

Gadolinium made a determined bid outside rivals into the stretch of the 1 1/16-mile Wayward Lass on March 3 and battled for the lead into the final furlong before tiring.

Prior to that effort, the 5-year-old Gadolinium had rallied from well off the pace to be second in the seven-furlong Manatee.

In her first two starts this season, Gadolinium rallied from off the pace to take a pair of high-priced optional claiming races, one at 6 1/2 furlongs and the other at Tuesday's seven-furlong distance. She has won 4 of 6 starts locally.

Mitchellhill wins three for Ziadie

Apprentice Sally Mitchellhill teamed up with one of her biggest boosters, trainer Kirk Ziadie, to win three races on Friday's program.

Ziadie sent Mitchellhill out on Shadow Belle ($6.40) to win the first race, then the pair hooked up again in the eighth when Mitchellhill guided promising first-time starter R Sexy Love ($8.20) to victory in a five-furlong sprint. In race 10, Mitchellhill found room along the rail with another Ziadie runner, Firebrook ($24.80), to upset the five-furlong allowance feature on the turf.

The three wins gave Mitchellhill eight wins for the meeting while raising Ziadie's win total to 18, which ranks fifth in the trainer standings.

* There will be live racing on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this week, then the track moves to a four-day-a-week schedule with live racing on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday until April 29. There will be no racing on April 8, Easter Sunday.