03/01/2006 1:00AM

Phil the Brit due for some luck


ALBANY, Calif. - Phil the Brit was either incredibly lucky or incredibly unlucky in his last start on Feb. 5.

Running in a first-level turf allowance race at Bay Meadows, Phil the Brit had just made what looked like a winning move when Rare Request broke down. Phil the Brit was knocked sideways but re-rallied to finish third. Yet, he was fortunate not to sustain any injuries.

"Most horses would have thrown in the towel right then," said trainer Chris Crowe.

faces four rivals in Friday's Golden Gate Fields feature, a 1 1/16-mile allowance race on the main track, and should be able to get a good stalking trip.

"This is a nice horse, as solid as you'd ever want to have one," said Crowe, who trained on the Kentucky circuit for 20 years before coming to northern California this winter. "He's talented and athletic. He's had some bad luck, like last time, when he really closed quickly. If he'd started a jump or two earlier, he would have avoided the trouble."

Phil the Brit met talented runners last fall in Kentucky and finally won his maiden in his first start in California.

Phil the Brit, by Lion Cavern, is one of the reasons Crowe moved to California. Crowe recalled that he was training another horse by Lion Cavern, and Bruce Snipes, the owner of Phil the Brit, wanted to buy in for half. But the owner of the horse didn't want to sell.

"So we went to a sale and picked out one that could have been his twin," Crowe said, referring to Phil the Brit. "As it turned out, the other one had problems and only won a maiden race, but this one looks like him, and he runs on every kind of track."

Snipes, a manufacturer of horse-related products originally from South Carolina, asked Crowe last winter if he would consider running horses in California, and Crowe quickly agreed.

Crowe considered running Phil the Brit in Saturday's $40,000-added San Quentin overnight stakes but will run Dynagold there instead, even though he considers Phil the Brit stakes material.

, who was just claimed from a win in a $25,000 claimer, is likely to set the pace.

Two Southern California imports, , coming off an optional claiming victory, and Panama Lane, loom the primary rivals to Phil the Brit.