03/06/2004 1:00AM

Last Song too strong for Society Selection


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Almost everybody expected Last Song and Society Selection to battle it out for the winner's share of Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 at Gulfstream Park. What the majority of them didn't expect, though, was for Last Song to emerge a clear-cut, two-length winner over Society Selection, the 1-2 favorite.

When they met four weeks ago in the Grade 2 Davona Dale Stakes, Society Selection finished third, a neck in front of Last Song. Society Selection received a two-pound weight shift in her favor for Saturday's rematch.

Society Selection set the early pace in the 1 1/8-mile Bonnie Miss, with Last Song tracking her while racing three wide down the backstretch. Edgar Prado edged Last Song closer leaving the backstretch and the pair hooked up in a head-to-head battle that took them to midstretch before Last Song asserted her superiority and won going away.

Rare Gift, who prompted the early pace, finished another 4 3/4 lengths back in third, followed by Marina de Chavon and Journey Fever.

Last Song, a daughter of Unbridled's Song, is owned by the Buckram Oak Farm and trained by Carl Nafzger. She paid $8.20 after covering the distance in 1:50.60 over a fast track.

"The difference between today and the last time these two met was experience," said Nafzger. "The last start was the first time my filly had taken on really good horses. Horses are like humans. They've got to learn how to play.

"The outside post also helped," he said. "Last time she was in tight between horses. Today Edgar was able to get her outside the others."

Nafzger said Last Song would be pointed for the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland on April 3, and her main goal is the Kentucky Oaks on April 30.

"Right now the major objective is to have her 110 percent for the Oaks," said Nafzger.