01/26/2004 1:00AM

'Parole' wins Mac Diarmida

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Request for Parole, with Jose Santos aboard, stays ahead of Sir Brian's Sword and Slew Valley to win the $100,000 Mac Diarmida Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.- Request For Parole has split his time evenly between turf and dirt over the first 26 starts of his career. But after rallying to a 1 1/2-length victory over the pacesetting Slew Valley in Sunday's $100,000 Mac Diarmida Handicap at Gulfstream Park, it is fairly obvious where Request For Parole will be doing most of his racing from now on.

"He was a nice 3-year-old but then had an injury and it took him a while to come back," said Stanley Hough who trains Request For Parole for Jeri and Sam Knighton. "But the turf seems to have given him a new life."

Request For Parole rated near the back of the bunched pack chasing Slew Valley through the opening mile of the one mile and three-eighths Mac Diarmida. He had to steady along in traffic awaiting room near the final turn, advanced along the inside in early stretch then eased out and caught Slew Valley before drawing clear in deep stretch.

Slew Valley surprisingly outran Office Ghost and Gander to the lead from his inside post to set all the fractions but proved no match for the winner. Sir Brian's Sword steadied sharply around the final bend then finished well once clear to be third before being vanned off after the race.

Macaw, the 2-1 favorite, trailed for much of the trip, took up lacking room when attempting to rally into the stretch and finished a non-threatening eighth.

Request For Parole, who won a money allowance race on the grass two weeks earlier, returned $8.40. He covered the distance in 2:12.58 under Jose Santos.

The victory was the fifth in 13 career starts on grass for Request For Parole who is a 5-year-old son of Judge T.C. He has also won three of 13 tries on dirt.

Hough said Request For Parole would make his next start in the one mile and three eighths, Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap on Feb. 22.