03/04/2004 1:00AM

Laurel: Pawyne Princess gets distance test


Pawyne Princess was visually impressive when she won her career debut by 8 1/4 lengths last month at Laurel Park. Her performance looks even better when you put it into perspective.

A 3-year-old filly, Pawyne Princess was awarded a 99 Beyer Speed Figure for her romp in a six-furlong maiden race, exceeding the 94 that Bear Fan received in the Grade 2, seven-furlong Barbara Fritchie Handicap later on the same card. Only 13 3-year-olds, male or female, have run a higher figure this year.

The only question is whether Pawyne Princess can carry her speed 1 1/16 miles when she jumps into the stakes ranks for Saturday's $40,000 Wide Country at Laurel.

Pawyne Princess is part of an entry for owner Mike Gill and trainer Jerry Robb. She and stablemate Absolute Rocks are listed as the 4-5 favorite on the track's morning line. Jeremy Rose has been named as the rider of both fillies.

As a daughter of Saint Ballado, who won the Grade 2 Arlington Classic going 1 1/8 miles at 3, Pawyne Princess has the pedigree to handle two turns. She prepped for the Wide Country by working seven furlongs last week.

"She could be the real deal," said Rose. "I have been working her slow but she is a beast, doing it with class. Jerry says she is bred to go long so I don't see any problems with the added distance. We sat her behind horses in the last race so if she doesn't get the lead I will not be too worried."

The other part of the entry, Absolute Rocks, is one of only three horses in the field with a win at the Wide Country distance. She earned a 73 Beyer for her win against high-priced optional claimers last October. In three subsequent starts, Absolute Rocks has not come close to her career-best figure.

Absolute Rocks does run well fresh, though, and two recent five-furlong works indicate she may be sitting on a big effort.

Much like Pawyne Princess, Spirited Game will try two turns after winning her first two starts at 5 1/2 furlongs. Her sire, Not for Love, won at distances as long as 1 3/16 miles, so Spirited Game's pedigree is well-suited for the extra three furlongs.

But Mommy also stretches out after winning 3 of 4 races to start her career and climbing the Beyer scale from 47 to 65.

Another filly sired by Not for Love, He Loves Me, returns to Maryland after spending the winter at Fair Grounds. She won her maiden and rallied to be third in the Maryland Million Lassie last year.