10/19/2004 12:00AM

It's Speedy Sonata's big day


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Toni Gabriel has had Oct. 21 circled on her calendar for a couple of months now. A jockey-turned-trainer, she began looking to the Clark County Stakes for Speedy Sonata soon after the filly ran three hard races at Ellis Park, and now the witching hour is near.

"I'm pretty nervous, but that's just because it's 'Speedy,'" said Gabriel, who trains Speedy Sonata for Carl Icahn. "She makes me nervous every time she runs."

is part of a full field of fillies and mares set to contest the $75,000 Clark County at 5 1/2 furlongs on the Keeneland turf course. After rolling through several allowance conditions this summer, Speedy Sonata was given a brief respite before tackling what will be the toughest assignment of her career.

Gabriel, a New York native who began training about four years ago after starting her career in racing in Kentucky as apprentice rider Toni Beckelman, has become something of a turf-sprint specialist, having trained the rapid Cat Singer last year.

"Pretty much everything I have runs on turf," said Gabriel, who oversees an 11-horse stable.

Speedy Sonata will start from post 8 under Willie Martinez.

The probable favorite in the Clark County is , a south Florida shipper who won the Calder Turf Sprint on the July 10 Summit of Speed undercard. Like Speedy Sonata, Whenthedoveflies has terrific early speed and is entered off a mid-length layoff, meaning the early pace in the Clark County should be more than brisk. Whenthedoveflies, trained by Kirk Ziadie, drew the inside post and will be ridden by leading jockey Rafael Bejarano.

Besides Speedy Sonata and Whenthedoveflies, the Clark County also lured another filly coming off a layoff: , who won a July 11 overnight handicap at Arlington Park in her last start. From 15 career starts, Dyna Da Wyna has 8 wins, notably the Valley View here last fall and the Stravinsky here last spring. Pat Day rides.

The rest of the Clark County field consists of Black Escort, G Mans Gal, Amusingly, Stoneway, Glitterbdancing, Feather Maraine, and That's Our Tricky.

Moonlit Romance and Mocha Queen will each run only in the case of early scratches.

The Clark County, named for Fayette County's adjoining neighbor to the east, is the eighth of nine races Thursday.