09/16/2002 11:00PM

Hot pace would help Margaret


POMONA, Calif. - Horseplayers will find few conspicuous reasons to back Margaret's Fancy in the $50,000 Bustles and Bows Stakes on Thursday at Fairplex Park.

Her class is suspect. She has never started in this country. She has never raced on dirt, and will be outrun early in the 6 1/2-furlong stakes for 2-year-old fillies. Three weeks since arriving from England, Margaret's Fancy has much to overcome.

Or maybe not. Because as trainer Paul Aguirre cautioned, "If they go fast in front of her, they're going to have to deal with her in the lane."

There is no shortage of pace for Margaret's Fancy to run at in the six-horse field for the Bustles and Bows. The field includes front-running stakes winners Hostility and My Honey Bunny; in addition to Local Law and Zam Zam, whose maiden wins were accomplished on the front end. The faster they go, the better Margaret's Fancy's chances to win from behind. Aguirre also entered a second European shipper, Amanda Louise.

The Bustles and Bows was not originally planned for Margaret's Fancy, but she impressed her trainer with a four-furlong work in 47.40 seconds first time on the track. "Normally, they take a little while [to acclimate]," Aguirre said, "but I worked her once, and she worked a sharp half, so I figured this stakes would be a good spot to take a shot."

Aguirre would know. He won the Bustles and Bows last year with a similar European import, Green Eyed Lady. Both fillies were private purchases based on the recommendation of bloodstock agent Laura Stone.

The 2-for-3 European form of Margaret's Fancy may be better than it looks. The filly she beat July 27 returned to win a race with 15 starters; the filly she defeated July 10 returned to win her next two. Following the sharp recent workout at Hollywood Park, Margaret's Fancy and jockey Martin Pedroza may be poised for a late-running upset.

Hostility has undergone a trainer change since her last start. After two wins in four outings, she goes from Wesley Ward to Tom Roberts and probably is the best of the front-runners. My Honey Bunny won a stakes race in June at Pleasanton, and helps ensure a strong pace.

* A strong pace in the $49,500 Derby Trial on Monday enabled late-runner Bold Mango ($13.60) to rally from last to first under jockey Matt Garcia in the 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-olds.

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