12/24/2002 12:00AM

One lucky loser will win here


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The conditions of Friday's $56,000 allowance feature for older fillies and mares at Aqueduct figured to attract some horse trying to make up for lost time. Instead, the seven horses entered in the money allowance race are just trying to make up for a lot of losses.

Royal Fact, who is only 1 for 7 this year, should go off a solid favorite, but it will be hard to bet on or against her.

Royal Fact, a 4-year-old daughter of Known Fact trained by Jimmy Jerkens, has been keeping better company than what she faces on Friday. In her last four starts, Royal Fact has run with stakes winners Critical Eye, Shiny Band, With Ability, and the stakes-placed Ellie's Moment.

In her last start, on Dec. 4, she finished a distant second behind With Ability, who got loose on the lead and cruised to a 7 1/2-length win at 1 1/8 miles. In cutting back to 1 1/16 miles Friday, Royal Fact is running a distance at which she has won twice. Jerkens also believes she is training as well as she has since he started training her.

"She disappointed me a little bit," he said. "I thought she was a little better than she turned out to be. But she looks like she's right on the ball now. If she's ever going to get there this ought to be the time.''

Last winter, Miss Splash won two allowance races from four starts over the inner track. After a summer in the Mid-Atlantic region, she returned to the inner track in the same Dec. 4 allowance in which Royal Fact ran second. Miss Splash paid the price for trying to press With Ability early and backed up to finish fourth, beaten 18 lengths.

Although her trainer, Allen Iwinski, said she doesn't have to be in front, Miss Splash could be loose on the lead in this field under apprentice John McKee.

"I look for her to bounce back and run a big race," Iwinski said.

If trainer Alan Goldberg has figured out what went wrong with Vitrina Cat, she could offer value despite being coupled in the wagering with the Mark Hennig-trained Inox. Vitrina Cat was a Group 1 winner in Argentina and won the Quill Stakes at Delaware in 2001. She has not beaten a horse in two starts this year, and has not been out since July 5. Goldberg wins at a 23-percent clip with horses coming off 61-day to 180-day layoffs.

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