04/07/2003 11:00PM

'Parole' faces stern turf test

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Request for Parole passed his first turf test with flying colors, rallying from far back to win a fourth-level optional claiming race during the opening week of the meet. His second test comes Thursday when Request for Parole is part of a tougher, stakes-caliber field in a $43,000 money allowance race.

Request for Parole went to the sidelines for seven months due to a fractured cannon bone following his fifth-place finish in the 2002 Kentucky Derby. He ran fifth over Aqueduct's main track in his comeback, but when trainer Stanley Hough switched Request for Parole to the turf for his 2003 debut, the 4-year-old responded with an impressive half-length win in a field that included the veteran turf specialist Boastful.

"It seems like the grass has picked his head up a little bit," said Hough, who took over Request for Parole's training duties prior to the race at Aqueduct. "He just has not regained his earlier form on dirt since the surgery. I'm just hoping he'll run the same kind of race on grass here Thursday that he did earlier in the meet. If he does it will really give us something to build on the rest of the year."

Request for Parole will add blinkers and should find plenty of pace to run at in Thursday's race, with speedsters Krieger, Fan Club's Mister, and Rakoon in the lineup.

Hough said he'll put blinkers on Request for Parole "because he seems to be cheating a little bit, not necessarily to put any more speed into him."

Sardaukar is another member of the field likely to benefit from an honest pace. A stretch-running veteran, Sardaukar was claimed for $100,000 when he finished second to Boastful Jan. 24. He returns to the allowance ranks after finishing third in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup and fourth Grade 3 Canadian Turf Handicap.

Krieger is at his best when loose on the lead, as he proved by winning Calder's Grade 3 Tropical Turf Handicap and finishing second here in the Grade 2 Appleton Handicap. But he could do no better than finish third behind Rouvres after getting hooked and headed early by Rakoon in his last start.

Thursday's race is the scheduled turf debut for Free of Love, a graded stakes winner on dirt.