01/17/2004 12:00AM

'Gal' has much in her favor

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - She tried, but she couldn't do it. Gal O Gal attempted to win a Gulfstream Park turf stakes for the second straight year when she made her latest start in the Honey Fox Handicap on opening day, but she raced wide throughout after starting from the far outside post in a full field, and her usual late run was rendered ineffective.

That's the bad news. Here's the good news. Gal O Gal not only draws a far more comfortable starting position - post 2 - amid a field of 10, plus two also eligibles and one main track only entrant, in the Monday feature at Gulfstream, but she also takes a rare dip into the allowance ranks, as she is still eligible for her four-other-than condition.

Those factors, along with the benefit of a race over the Gulfstream turf course and a seeming abundance of speed entered against her, could allow Gal O Gal to notch her first victory since last May at Belmont.

Max Hugel is the breeder and owner, and Vinnie Blengs is the trainer of Gal O Gal, a 4-year-old filly who last February captured the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride Stakes. Bred in Florida, Gal O Gal has been remarkably consistent, earning nearly $200,000.

Among her likeliest challengers in the "about" one-mile feature are Formal Miss, another steady 4-year-old who has been keeping stakes company on a regular basis; Perfect Energy, a New York-bred who captured the restricted Via Borghese at Belmont in September for trainer Gary Sciacca; and Meridiana, a German filly who was a Group 1 winner in her homeland but who has been a disappointment in three U.S. starts.

The Monday feature carries a $40,000 purse and is carded as the seventh of nine races. One race later, 3-year-old fillies clash in the only other allowance of the day, a $34,000, entry-level route. The field of eight includes four fillies who won maiden races last fall in Kentucky: Quick Temper, Secret Patriot, Charity Girl, and Last Song. Of those, Last Song, trained by Carl Nafzger, may be the one to beat under Edgar Prado.

After the Monday card, which is being conducted because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Gulfstream goes dark for one day before action resumes Wednesday.

The following Monday, Jan. 26, is dark, but then six-day racing weeks begin Feb. 2 through the end of the meet. Tuesdays will be the only dark days.