07/21/2001 12:00AM

Kitty on the Track a tiger in tank


DEL MAR, Calif. - Three weeks after Kitty on the Track stunned her connections with a close second in the A Gleam Handicap at Hollywood Park, she returns in a race she can win - the $70,000 Fantastic Girl Stakes at Del Mar on Monday.

Trainer Bill Spawr wanted a late-June or early-July start in an allowance race for Kitty on the Track, but was forced into the A Gleam when no other races filled. She nearly won her first start in 18 months, losing by a half-length to Go Go, the top female sprinter in California this year.

"I didn't think she could do that," Spawr said. "I'd trained her to run on that Friday, but I was the only one that entered. She was fit to go three-quarters. We wanted to get her in a race so should would be ready at Del Mar. She ran way better than we expected."

A repeat of that effort would be good enough to win the Fantastic Girl Stakes, which is restricted to fillies and mares that have not won a first-place purse of $35,000 since April 20. Run over 6 1/2 furlongs, the Fantastic Girl has drawn a field of six, including Image of Glory, Kalookan Queen, Filigree, and Serenita, all of whom have been stakes-placed this year. Hail Glory, a stakes winner in Brazil in 1999, makes her first start in 19 months.

Kitty on the Track will be ridden by Laffit Pincay, Jr., and is likely to go favored over Serenita.

Spawr said he does not expect Kitty on the Track to regress from her strong effort in the A Gleam.

"We've addressed that with several blood tests and watching her habits and I don't think she'll bounce at all," he said. "When they bounce, their hair will turn and they lose weight, and she hasn't done that."

Serenita, who is trained by Bobby Frankel, has not started since finishing fifth in the $2 million Golden Shaheen in Dubai on March 25. A 4-year-old Argentine-bred, she was third in the Grade 1 La Brea and second in the Grade 1 Santa Monica Handicap last winter, her first season with Frankel.

Kalookan Queen was second in the 2000 Santa Monica, one of six stakes in which she has finished second or third. Most recently, she was fourth in the A Gleam after a slow start and is still searching for her first stakes win.