06/25/2001 12:00AM

Pegatory's early speed dangerous


PLEASANTON, Calif. - Pergatory, who has been showing speed versus tougher rivals at Hollywood Park, looks like the one to beat in the $34,000 allowance feature for fillies and mares at the Alameda County Fair on Wednesday, opening day of the 11-day meeting here.

A strong field of eight entered the six-furlong feature, which is restricted to fillies and mares who have not won $3,000 twice other than maiden or claiming.

Pergatory, from the Wesley Ward stable, seems to hold a class edge on her foes after finishing third and fourth, respectively, in her last

two starts in second-level allowance/$62,500 optional claiming races at Hollywood. Wednesday's race is also a second-level allowance, but the optional claiming price is $40,000, so it is actually an easier spot.

Both of Pergatory's last two races were on the turf, but she seems at least as good on the main track, where both of her career wins have occurred. She got into head-and-head pace duels in both of her last two races, and it is hard to win that way on the turf. Russell Baze takes the call.

The main threats to the top choice are Greny and Midnight Mango. Greny has won all three of her 2001 starts in $20,000 to $25,000 claiming company and has been claimed from two of those races. Most recently, on May 25, she won for a $25,000 tag and was claimed by trainer John Martin. Significantly, Martin has elected to move her up to $40,000.

Midnight Mango, trained by Carmela Anderson, has been knocking at the door at this level for some time but has been unable to break through. She has finished second in her last two starts. She is stabled at Pleasanton year-around, so maybe she will be able to break through on her "home" track.

Deb's Royal Flush, a 3-year-old facing older foes for the first time, also rates as a contender. Her Beyer Speed Figures are a little weaker than most of the others, but she is sharp and has been stakes-placed three times.