04/01/2005 12:00AM

New Science may get break on front end

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - , who has been forced to battle hard for the lead in each of his last three starts, might finally be able to set an uncontested pace and, as a result, get back to the winner's circle for the first time in nearly five months in Sunday's $35,000 allowance feature at Gulfstream Park.

The 1 1/16-mile turf race goes under second-level allowance conditions and replaces the afternoon's scheduled feature, the $50,000 Hallandale Beach Stakes, which did not fill.

New Science has held his form well for trainer Jose Pinchin, despite having gone winless in four starts dating back to Nov. 20, when he won an entry-level allowance by 2 3/4 lengths at Calder. In his two most recent Gulfstream starts, New Science finished third, beaten a half-length by Cartoonist and Biblical Scholar, and second, a neck behind Polo Grounds, after forcing the pace and getting a short lead in midstretch.

New Science gave a similarly game effort to close out his 3-year-old campaign in Calder's Santa Claus Stakes - dueling on the front end before succumbing in the final yards to finish third. The winner that day, Old Forester, returned to win the Canadian Turf Handicap here last month.

Cornelio Velasquez gets a return call on New Science.

Rahy's Chance, who finished a neck behind New Science after a wide trip when the pair met on March 6, has also been highly consistent over the past several months, posting Beyer Speed Figures of 87-90 in each of his last four starts. Trained by Phil Hauswald, Rahy's Chance won a $50,000 claiming race earlier in the meet and picks up the services of rider John Velazquez.

Fortunate Writers, idle since a sixth-place finish as the 9-5 favorite on the Belmont Park turf on Oct. 3, has worked steadily and at times spectacularly over the Palm Meadows turf course for his return. He should not be discounted despite the six-month layoff. Trained by James Toner, Fortunate Writers is the class of the field, having finished third in the Grade 3 Lawrence Realization Handicap during the fall of 2003.

Tap Dancer has shown steady improvement since returning to south Florida from New York last fall and could also be a major player. He is winless since capturing Calder's Seacliff Stakes as a 2-year-old during the summer of 2003.

In his last start, Tap Dancer finished third against perhaps slightly tougher second-level optional claiming and allowance competition on March 14.