03/24/2006 12:00AM

'Parole' plunges to wake up


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - It has been 13 starts and 20 months since Request for Parole last visited the winner's circle, when he captured Monmouth Park's Grade 1 United Nations Handicap during the summer of 2004. Trainer Stanley Hough is hoping that streak will end when he drops Request for Parole back into the allowance ranks for Sunday's $46,000 feature at Gulfstream Park.

The 7-year-old turned in his best effort in some time earlier this winter when he finished fourth after making the lead entering the stretch in the Grade 3 Mac Diarmida Handicap. Unfor-tunately, he could not repeat the performance four weeks later when he finished a tiring seventh in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap.

"I'm just hopeful his last race was the result of the soft turf course," said Hough. "He just didn't seem to handle the going that day."

Hough nominated Request for Parole for next weekend's Grade 3 Pan American Handi-cap but instead opted for Sunday's softer spot.

"I'm just trying to see if we can get him back on track," said Hough. "He came down with pneumonia and almost died after the Breeders' Cup in 2004 and I'm not sure if his lungs just never fully recovered from the illness or it's his age that's catching up to him. But he seems to be getting a little sharper lately and I'm hoping we might get his mind right and his confidence back by trying something a little different, shortening up to a mile and one-eighth and putting him back in against allowance competition."

Hough isn't the only trainer looking to get an old pro back to the winner's circle by dropping him into allowance company. Christophe Clement will use the same strategy with Quest Star, winner of the 2003 and 2004 editions of the Pan Am, a Grade 2 at the time. He has not started since finishing 10th in the the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap on June 11.

, who won the 2004 Pan Am at the direct expense of Request for Parole, made just four starts last year, finishing second in defense of his title in the Pan Am and third in the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Churchill Downs. He has been training steadily for his return at Payson Park.

and Brickell are also contenders.