12/05/2007 12:00AM

Lesser of two evils for Lady Railrider

EmailALBANY, Calif. - Rock? Hard place? Rock? Hard place?

That was trainer Steve Specht's dilemma as he pondered options for his 2-year-old stakes-placed filly Lady Railrider at Golden Gate Fields this week.

The rock is Saturday's $75,000 Corte Madera Stakes at one mile. The hard place is Friday's first-level allowance race at six furlongs.

Specht chose the hard place, as did two other nominees to the Corte Madera, To B. Devon and Doalittleraindance. Those three, plus stakes-placed Sassy Blend and Mini Tales, will meet the Greg Gilchrist-trained entry of Heaven on Hold and Light Up the Lane, who figure to go off favored.

"I looked at the stakes race, and I thought it would be pretty tough," said Specht, pointing to the nomination of Set Play, winner of the Gradeo1 Del Mar Debutante, and another tough pair from the Gilchrist barn, stakes-winning High Resolve and Sky Mystic, who has won two straight since stretching out.

"There's a couple from down south that don't look that bad, and Gilchrist's fillies," Specht said.

Distance wasn't a concern for Lady Railrider. She was second to stakes-placed She's a Lucky Wager in her route debut on the turf and then finished second to Sky Mystic on the main track here on Nov. 21 in her past two starts.

"I hate to cut back in distance, but it worked out last Saturday with I'monmywayhome," Specht said. "I'm going to take the side of caution and run her at the allowance condition."

Lady Railrider won her debut against males in a qualifying heat for the Chris Christian Stakes at Les Bois Park in Boise, Idaho, before finishing fourth in the stakes race. She ran third behind the Gilchrist-trained duo of Indyanne and This Side Up in the Bay Meadows Debutante.

Heaven on Hold looked good defeating Bandits to Riches by a length in her Oct. 7 debut after dueling on the lead in the opening half-mile. Light Up the Lane was third in her Oct. 7 debut but came back to defeat Bandits to Riches by a nose in her second start, Oct. 28.

"They both beat Bandits to Riches, but I beat her with Papa'ssarahlin at Santa Rosa," Specht said. "My filly's training well. I stretched her out at Bay Meadows because you have to have a little speed to win there."

There should be decent speed in Friday's race with To B. Devon, who has won two straight, likely to show speed from the rail against Heaven on Hold. Sassy Blend has good early speed as well.