03/20/2002 12:00AM

Ladies Din heads classy allowance


ARCADIA, Calif. - Friday's seventh race at Santa Anita is a $70,000 allowance race with such a quality field that it more closely resembles a graded stakes.

Run over a mile on turf, the race drew nine runners, including such familiar names as Ladies Din, Touch of the Blues, I've Decided, and Thady Quill. They face the well-regarded European shipper Shibboleth; Climate, who is returning from a 14-month layoff; and Big Board, who is trained by Richard Mandella.

Add longshots Night Patrol and Casino King, both stakes winners in northern California in the last year, and the race provides handicappers with a difficult puzzle.

Ladies Din, a 7-year-old, is the most accomplished runner, having won 10 of 32 starts and $1,669,904. Trained by Julio Canani, Ladies Din will be making his first start since he finished a disappointing 11th in the Dubai Duty Free in March 2001. In 2000, Ladies Din won the Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar.

Shibboleth is the most intriguing starter. A 5-year-old by Danzig, he won 4 of 7 starts in England, with the three losses coming in Group races. He made just four starts last year, highlighted by a minor stakes win over seven furlongs at Newmarket last June, and has not started since finishing fifth of 18 in the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket last July.

Owned by Juddmonte Farms, Shibboleth joined trainer Bobby Frankel in late 2001 from Henry Cecil.

"I don't know how far he'll go," Frankel said. "I think a mile might be his best."

Frankel also starts Thady Quill, who was sixth in the Frank Kilroe Mile on March 2. Last year, Thady Quill won three races, including the Wickerr Handicap over Touch of the Blues at Del Mar, and was second in the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile.

"He's very good, but he probably needed his last start," Frankel said.

I've Decided is the likely pacesetter. Trained by Wally Dollase, he was fourth in the Citation Handicap last November, the final start of a season that included placings in two other stakes.

Earlier in the program, Global Gait, who was considered a candidate for the Triple Crown last year, makes his 4-year-old debut in a $60,000 allowance race/optional claimer over seven furlongs. Global Gait has not started since finishing eighth in the Northern Dancer Handicap at Churchill Downs last June.

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