01/12/2005 12:00AM

Que Puntual has tough act to follow


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - After setting a world record with the first horse he ran at the meet, what does trainer Angel Penna Jr. do for an encore?

As far as Penna is concerned, winning Friday's $35,000 allowance feature with Que Puntual would be encore enough. The Argentine-bred mare won her U.S. debut coming off a year layoff last month at Calder, and may be favored to keep her North American record unblemished when she faces 11 rivals in a 1 1/8-mile turf race.

When Penna sent out another Argentine-bred Mr. Light, on opening day of the current session. He won the finale and broke the one-mile world record, which took three days to verify before it was recognized.

"I think too much fuss was made over the record," Penna said. "For the most part racetracks break records, not horses. But once you get there I guess there's only one way to go, and I learned early in this business never to sleep on your laurels."

Penna has high hopes for , who was Group 1-placed in Argentina. She was transferred to Penna's barn in August, and despite being away a year was fit enough to outfinish Wekiva Mist by a half-length to capture a second-level allowance race at Calder on Dec. 13.

"She's a good horse, and good horses are easy to get ready," Penna said. "I was very confident she was fit enough to win the first time back, but I think she will also move forward and improve off the race. If she gets a good trip she should run very well again on Friday."

Penna said he thinks Que Puntual is talented enough to become a stakes winner in this country.

"If she runs satisfactorily on Friday, I'll point her for the Suwannee River," he said.

The Suwannee River, a Grade 3 race, will be run Feb. 12.

Que Puntual should get a good trip behind the expected pace of Final Discount and Our Exploit and may have to hold off the late rallies of D'ohana, Honorable Cat, Russian Sweetiepie, and upset threat Sauvage.

D'ohana, Honorable Cat, and all finished second in their last starts against similar third-level allowance competition on the turf. D'ohana will be ridden by Kieren Fallon, who has already recorded a pair of wins over the new Gulfstream grass course.

was a listed stakes winner in France but could not duplicate that form in three North American races at Woodbine. She will make her first start for trainer Tom Albertrani while dropping in company for her U.S. debut.