04/09/2002 12:00AM

Pali Princess not a given here

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - If handicapping were strictly a scientific exercise, Thursday's feature at Bay Meadows would be easy to figure out.

Pali Princess comes off an 11-length victory and has both the best last-race and career Beyer Speed Figures. She also seems to enjoy a pace advantage and the benefit of an outside draw in post 5.

Game, set, and match?

Perhaps not so fast.

Handicapping is as much an art as a science. As good as Pali Princess looks, winning the race, a six-furlong $40,000 optional claimer, might be harder on the main track than it appears on paper.

Also entered is Mona the Snake, who has won her past three starts. She has decent speed and will probably be asked early after drawing the rail in the field of six 3-year-old fillies.

You're on Your Own, a stablemate of Mona the Snake, will also run for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. She lost by a nose in a Santa Anita allowance race in her last start. Last fall, she had a second and third against allowance rivals over the Bay Meadows track.

My Babycakes finished one length behind You're on Your Own at Santa Anita after she bobbled at the break. She was making her first start for trainer John Acerno, who claimed her when she won for $25,000 in her previous start.

That's Our Tricky was second to the talented Fertile in the Feb. 17 Vallejo Stakes at Golden Gate Fields. In her last start, she was fourth behind Yourfinalanswer in one of the better races for 3-year-old fillies at Golden Gate. Before those two losses, she had won two in a row.

The final entrant, Lori M'love, seems overmatched with a career-best Beyer Figure 17 points lower than the best of her nearest rival, but she, too, is interesting. After finishing second in a $12,500 claimer in her debut, she moved up to $32,000 for her second start and won. While her trainer, Ellen Jackson, doesn't win many, she does quite well off layoffs, so even Lori M'love could be an intriguing long shot.

Seven likely for Cal Derby

A field of seven, including the Hollendorfer-trained duo of Cappuchino and Lawn Mower, seems likely for Saturday's $150,000 California Derby at 1 1/8 miles.

Dial a Hero, Make the Deal, and Tracemark will be entered, and Goodnews Bay and Captain Squire are considered probable starters. Also, trainer Timothy Pinfield is considering running Line Rider.

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