12/28/2001 12:00AM

Gold for My Gal seeks repeat


NEW ORLEANS - A year after she delivered the best race of her career, Gold for My Gal is back at Fair Grounds to defend her title in the $75,000 Truly Bound Handicap on Sunday.

Gold for My Gal came through with a breakout race to win last season's Truly Bound by six lengths, and though she has won only once in eight starts since, and she exits a five-month layoff, Gold for My Gal still merits respect in the Truly Bound, which is for older mares at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. But this year's opponents, headed by Scoop and Mysia Jo, may be better than the horses Gold for My Gal beat in last year's romp.

Gold for My Gal, who is owned by Morises Farm and trained by Manuel Estevez, hasn't raced since finishing third behind subsequent Grade 1 winner Miss Linda in the Lady's Secret at Monmouth Park. Having seen how she thrived at Fair Grounds last year, Gold for My Gal's connections picked out the Truly Bound as her comeback spot, and assistant trainer Edgar Estevez, Manuel's son, said Gold for My Gal will remain at Fair Grounds for this track's best filly and mare stakes, the Chou Croute, should she run well Sunday.

Gold for My Gal, who is to be ridden by Willie Martinez, has been at Fair Grounds a week and has breezed over the track twice, including a standout half-mile in 49 seconds Dec. 26 when the racing strip was exceptionally dull. "We were very pleased with that," Estevez said. "She loves this racetrack."

So, too, does Scoop, who has been working bullets here for the last month. A Jim Tafel homebred trained by Gene Cilio, Scoop comes out of perhaps the best race of her career, an easy win over a sloppy track in the Grade 3 Indiana Breeders' Cup Oaks on Oct. 5. Scoop has maintained about a 10-day work schedule since she shipped into Fair Grounds and has posted three bullet works, two at six furlongs and one at five furlongs.

One has to go back to the spring to make a strong case for Mysia Jo, but she does have potential excuses for three losses this fall. In her spring campaign, Mysia Jo came into peak form and finished third in the Grade 2 Fantasy Stakes, and fourth in the Grade 3 Dogwood Stakes. She has worked five times here in the last month for trainer Bobby Barnett.

o In the eighth race, top turf miler Where's Taylor makes his first start of the Fair Grounds meet in a money-since allowance race. He faces the talented Gulf Storm.