10/13/2003 12:00AM

Pheiffer upsets Lacie Girl in Russell Handicap


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Pheiffer ($17.40) took the lead out of the gate and held off the determined rally of odds-on favorite Lacie Girl by a nose after the two brushed near the 16th pole in the Charles H. Russell Handicap on Sunday at Bay Meadows.

Lacie Girl showed more speed than usual early but was three wide down the backstretch and around the turn of the six-furlong race. She challenged Pheiffer down the stretch, but each time she moved up, Pheiffer would repel the challenge. Pheiffer won by the narrowest of noses in 1:09.21.

"We thought the two entrants from Washington might be on the lead," winning trainer Donna Elordi said. "We got the lead, and Ron (Warren Jr.) was able to give her a little breather."

Warren said that after breaking sharply he went for the lead because "nobody was going with me.

"She tried hard. The other filly tried to wear her down, but she was tenacious."

Elordi wasn't surprised Pheiffer responded gamely in the stretch.

"She has got no give in her," Elordi said. "She absolutely gives you all she has."

It was the first stakes victory for the 5-year-old mare who has won six of 16 starts. She earned $33,500 to lift her lifetime earnings to $111,400.

The presence of Lacie Girl, who now has seven wins and two losses by a nose at six furlongs, led to a $46,843.33 minus show pool.