02/25/2002 12:00AM

Halo Tyra danger off place finish

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ALBANY, Calif. - His filly was second behind a real talent last time out, but trainer Chuck Peery could well visit the winner's circle this time with Halo Tyra in Golden Gate Fields's feature race on Wednesday.

A $63,000 purchase at the Barretts Sale last May, Halo Tyra won her debut on Jan. 6 in a six-furlong maiden sprint then ran second, 5 1/2 lengths behind talented Lost at Sea in a Feb. 3 mile race.

Halo Tyra figures to be well backed in Wednesday's feature, the first race, a one-mile $40,000 optional claimer for 3-year-old fillies.

"It was no disgrace at all to run second to Lost at Sea," Peery said. "It was her first route, and she might have come up a bit short. Until the quarter pole, I don't know if anyone was sure Lost at Sea would beat her. She flattened out, but I think she'll benefit from that route, and she has a six-furlong work since then."

Peery said Phil Rowe, one of Halo Tyra's owners, pointed out the filly to him at the 2-year-olds-in-training sale.

"I didn't think we'd have an opportunity to buy her for the money we did," Peery said. "She's a beautiful filly who moves correctly, and her daddy [Sunny's Halo] won the Kentucky Derby."

Halo Tyra, he said, "went through a few little things" after her purchase, and was sent back to a farm to get over them but mainly to grow up a bit.

It's not always easy to convince owners to take time with a horse, but Rowe and his partners are exceptions.

"We want to buy good horses," Rowe said. "You have to give them time to mature. I've never asked Chuck to rush a horse. We have another one we bought at the same time who had run 11 times by the time [Halo Tyra] made her debut."

"There are some early horses, who probably will never get much better than they are when they're two," Peery said. "We want someone who'll be around and able to run a mile-and-an-eighth in May."

Among Halo Tyra's foes Wednesday are Parisian Heart, third in the Feb. 3 race, Dolly's Hit Lady, who has won two straight, and Dark City, who won her debut then ran a troubled fourth at Santa Anita in her second start. Raelynn's Colony and the maiden Shadow Game round out the field.

Peery is confident Halo Tyra will run well, but he doesn't want to start making future plans just yet.

"We dream as big as anybody," he said, "but we still take it a race at a time. We let the horse tell the story."

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