12/10/2001 1:00AM

Golden Gate: Lil Sister Stich steals one


ALBANY, Calif. - "They fell asleep," said trainer Armando Lage, explaining Lil Sister Stich's victory in the Golden Poppy Handicap at Golden Gate Fields.

Lil Sister Stich ($9.40) stole the 1 1/16-mile turf race, opening a five-length lead despite slow fractions on a turf course listed as good.

Lil Sister Stich looked as if she would be passed by a flying Slow Down in the stretch, but she dug in after Slow Down pulled along side her and won the race by one length over Slow Down.