07/20/2006 12:00AM

Live Life lone speed in the Mabee


DEL MAR, Calif. - Memorette, Live Life, and Moscow Burning were the first three across the line in last month's Beverly Hills Handicap at Hollywood Park, and while they will have a rematch in the Grade 1, $400,000 on Saturday at Del Mar, the probable pace of this race, plus the shorter distance, could yield a different result.

Both Memorette and Moscow Burning had their closing charges aided by a hot pace in the 1 1/4-mile Beverly Hills. Live Life, meanwhile, was on or near that pace, and missed by only three-quarters of a length. At 1 1/8 miles in the Mabee, and with no other speed to challenge her early, Live Life poses an elusive target.

"Her last race she was compromised by the fast pace," Neil Drysdale, who trains Live Life, said Thursday morning as he watched the gray filly gallop with exercise rider Debra Biggs. "She ran well to hold on for second."

Going 1 1/4 miles, Live Life was never more than 1 1/2 lengths behind fractions of 22.64 seconds for the opening quarter and 45.82 seconds for a half-mile. She was lapped on the leaders after six furlongs in 1:10.06, and led after a mile in 1:34.97, but was caught late by Memorette.

Patrick Valenzuela was scheduled to ride Live Life, but since he is off his mounts indefinitely due to a back injury, Drysdale needed a replacement. He reached out Thursday morning to Mike Smith, who was scheduled to be here already on Saturday to ride Giacomo in the San Diego Handicap.

Memorette has won twice in her last three starts, and has captured her last two grass races, both at Hollywood Park.

"I think the turf here is very similar to the turf at Hollywood, which she loved," said Memorette's trainer, Bill Currin, who said he has pressure to win because Memorette is owned by his wife, Betty.

Moscow Burning was favored in the Beverly Hills, but her closing rush was too little, too late. Norberto Arroyo Jr. takes over on Moscow Burning, replacing David Flores, who had ridden Moscow Burning in her last six starts.

Four others - Amorama, Dancing Edie, Island Fashion, and Katdogawn - entered the race. Island Fashion and Amorama are the best known, but there is a chance they are past their prime.

Amorama loves this course - she won the Mabee last year, and the Del Mar Oaks the previous year - but she is winless in six starts since last year's Mabee. Island Fashion is winless in 13 starts since October 2004.