06/03/2004 12:00AM

Governor's Pride, Rudirudy have fitness advantage


Governor's Pride and Rudirudy have won 13 races apiece, but have had only one victory on turf between them the past two years. Only the Best, Manofglory, and Special Judge are consistent turf sprint specialists, but they have all yet to race this year.

Handicappers will have a tough time deciding whether to support one of the horses with good recent form but few recent wins, or a logical contender coming off a long layoff in Saturday's $60,000 Wolf Hill Stakes, a five-furlong turf race at Monmouth Park.

Governor's Pride, a 7-year-old trained by Tim Ritchey, and Rudirudy, a 9-year-old, both ran well as longshots in the May 22 Ben Cohen at Pimlico. Governor's Pride dueled through the five furlongs to prevail by a nose at 24-1. Rudirudy rallied from far back to finish third, beaten 1 1/4 lengths at 33-1, but was flat nine days later in the Turf Monster Handicap at Philadelphia Park.

Only the Best, who last raced in October, is 2 for 2 in turf sprint stakes at Monmouth, including a nose win over Special Judge.

Manofglory, who will be making his first start since October, won a turf stakes at Keeneland off a two-month layoff, but is winless in six starts since that race, which came in October 2002.

Based on trainer statistics, Special Judge, making his first start since December, is most dangerous here. Norman Pointer is 4 for 21 with turf runners returning from long layoffs the past three years, showing a return on investment of $3.40. Steve Klesaris, Only the Best's trainer, is only 1 for 20 with such runners.

* Uphill Skier, a two-time stakes winner at Monmouth last summer, makes her first start since September in the $40,000 Open Mind Handicap, a six-furlong sprint for New Jersey-bred fillies and mares.