01/19/2006 12:00AM

Lilah seeks to end career as a winner


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Saturday's $100,000 will mark the end of Lilah's racing career, and the pace scenario could be favorable for the 9-year-old mare to go out on a winning note.

Nine older fillies and mares were entered for the 6 1/2-furlong First Lady, led by Maddalena, Trickle of Gold, and Smokey Glacken, all of whom will carry 117 pounds and are at their best when on or close to the lead.

Lilah will be making her 40th career start in the Grade 3 First Lady. A daughter of Defrere, she has won 13 races, finished second on nine other occasions, and loves the Gulfstream Park track, where she is 5 for 12.

Lilah, who will be bred to Speightstown in the spring, continues to hold her form remarkably well despite her advanced years. She won five races in 2005, including the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie Handicap here in March and the Garland of Roses Handicap at Aqueduct in early December. In the Garland of Roses, Lilah rallied from eight lengths off the pace to post a head decision over Secret Forest.

Shannon Uske, who has been Lilah's regular rider throughout most of her career, will have that assignment for the final time in the First Lady.

Maddalena will likely be favored despite having gone winless since capturing Delaware Park's Legal Light Stakes on April 30. Maddalena posted a pair of one-sided wins here last winter, including the Grade 3 Old Hat Stakes by seven lengths, but succumbed to early pace pressure when a tiring fifth as the 3-5 choice in the Grade 2 Forward Gal on March 5.

"She ran well here last winter and we've been pointing towards this race for a while," trainer Todd Pletcher said of Maddalena.

Trickle of Gold ran off six straight victories from July 31 through Nov. 19 for trainer Mike Gorham before having her streak snapped when she finished eighth over a wet track in Santa Anita's Grade 1 La Brea Stakes. Among those victories was a three-length decision over Maddalena in Laurel's Grade 3 Safely Kept.

Smokey Glacken is rarely outrun for the lead. The 5-year-old Smokey Glacken registered both of her wins last season on the front end, including Belmont's Grade 3 Floral Park Handicap on Sept. 17.

Kuanyan and Lunachick, both of whom also figure to contest the early pace, round out the lineup along with Ender's Sister and Toll Taker.