08/30/2007 12:00AM

Gallon gets second shot at Margo's Gift


AUBURN, Wash. - Margo's Gift and Gallon will square off in something of a grudge match in Saturday's $55,000 WTBA Lads Stakes for 2-year-olds at a mile. The Lads will go with a field of seven.

Margo's Gift and Gallon met in the six-furlong Premio Esmeralda on July 21, when Gallon surged late to reach the wire a head in front of Margo's Gift in 1:09.20. The stewards ruled that Gallon had come in to cause crowding in the final strides, however, and he was disqualified and placed second for the infraction.

Gallon, a son of Victory Gallop from the barn of trainer Jim Penney, therefore enters the Lads as a maiden. In his only start before the Premio Esmeralda, he finished second to Dat's Dream in a five-furlong maiden special weight race that was clocked in 56.60 seconds, the fastest time for that distance ever recorded by a 2-year-old at Emerald Downs. Despite his maiden status, Gallon is expected to be a slight favorite over Margo's Gift on Saturday, when he will again be ridden by Leslie Mawing.

Margo's Gift, a Polish Gift gelding who is trained by Doris Harwood, is undefeated after three starts. Margo's Gift won his 4 1/2-furlong debut on the maiden $40,000 level, then won the Premio Esmeralda via disqualification before returning on Aug. 12 to win the Strong Ruler Stakes by a half-length over Courageous Son with 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16. Ricky Frazier, who was aboard for all three of Margo's Gift's scores, will again have the mount.

Cafe Tortoni could pose a threat to both Gallon and Margo's Gift. Cafe Tortoni, a son of Katahaula County, has raced only once, in a five-furlong maiden race for $30,000 claimers on Aug. 10. He made a most favorable impression, however, as he pulled away through the stretch after dueling for the early advantage to score by almost four lengths in 57.80 seconds. Jose Zunino, who was up that day, retains the mount.

Cafe Tortoni, like Gallon, is trained by Jim Penney, but the two horses will go uncoupled in the wagering owing to separate ownership.