03/11/2004 1:00AM

Look for 'Outlaw' to steal this one


NEW YORK - Saturday is the biggest day of the year at Gulfstream Park, and the track's racing office has put together a card commensurate with that. The main attraction is, of course, the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby, a major stepping-stone to the Kentucky Derby. But in addition to the Florida Derby, in which Read the Footnotes will be strongly favored, four other stakes races will be decided, including two other very attractive events for 3-year-olds: the $150,000 Swale Stakes, headed by Eurosilver, and the $150,000 Stonerside Forward Gal for fillies, featuring a battle between Madcap Escapade and La Reina. The Skip Away and the Marshua's River round out the Gulfstream stakes.

Gulfstream may have the best card, but the $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks does not have to take a back seat to any race on Saturday. Halfbridled, the sensational 2-year-old filly champion of 2003, makes her first start since her victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, and it won't be easy. Among her competition is a fellow undefeated filly in A.P. Adventure.

Other significant races are the $200,000 El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields, and the $200,000 Oaklawn Breeders' Cup for fillies and mares. To mark the first Saturday on the main track, Aqueduct will run New York's first graded stakes this year on the main track, the Grade 3, $100,000 Toboggan Handicap, as well as the $75,000 Broadway Handicap for New York-bred fillies and mares.

Here are three stakes that will get some action from me:

Skip Away Handicap

I know Bowman's Band probably would have been second to Medaglia d'Oro last time out in the Donn Handicap were he not mugged on the far turn. And I know Bourbonnais has the best last-race Beyer Speed Figure in the field - 104 - and also has Jerry Bailey, who wins everything on big race days. I don't care. Christine's Outlaw is the lone speed in this race, and I'm picking him to go wire to wire.

Christine's Outlaw showed flashes of real ability last year at 3, and turned in a career- best performance in his first start this year. He had the edge in a five-horse speed battle down the backstretch, yet drew off impressively in the stretch to score by six. Personal Touch, who came back to win impressively himself, was left nearly eight lengths back in third.

Now, Christine's Outlaw suitably stretches back out to two turns, and will have complete control of the pace over a Gulfstream main track that is usually tight as a drum and speed-conducive on Florida Derby Day.

Toboggan Handicap

It's probably folly to pick against anything Richard Dutrow throws on the racetrack, because he seemingly wins with everything, and he doesn't have just "anything" in this spot. He's got Well Fancied, winner of the General George last time out. But, I'm stubborn, and I'm taking General George runner-up Unforgettable Max to gain revenge.

After finding himself farther back early than he ever had been in his life, Unforgettable Max ran a big race in the General George, rallying five wide around the far turn and finishing strongly.

I love the addition of blinkers to Unforgettable Max's equipment Saturday, because that will put him in the game earlier. Since Unforgettable Max was 15-1 last time out to Well Fancied's 3-1, he may be a square ticket yet again.

Swale Stakes

I've been high on Eurosilver for a long time, but that doesn't mean I have to take him at a tiny price when he's looking down the road to the Kentucky Derby. I'm going with Saratoga County for the upset.

Saratoga County had a horrendous trip last time out in the Hutcheson, getting knocked back from between opponents in the first few strides to be put far behind the field. But, he never gave up, and rallied to be a remarkable third. Saratoga County has positional speed, so he can be right with the pace in this spot. Plus, he gets a huge jockey switch to that man Bailey.