08/01/2002 12:00AM

Retama: Golden opportunity


Golden Rhythm, who has taken her game to another level since she started racing on turf, is in a good position to pick up her first stakes win Saturday night in the $50,000 Margarita Breeders' Cup Handicap at Retama Park near San Antonio.

The 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares drew a field of 11.

Golden Rhythm began her career on the main track, but switched to turf last summer and won her maiden in her second start on the surface. She has since won three more times on turf, and has finished third or better in four of the five turf stakes in which she has started.

In her last start, Golden Rhythm finished second, beaten three-quarters of a length by Due to Win, in the $50,000 Honeymoon at Louisiana Downs.

Golden Rhythm impressively won a $50,000 optional claimer one start before the Honeymoon. In that race, she defeated Margarita highweight Bien Nicole.

Paul Murphy trains Golden Rhythm for owner Sandstone Racing Partnership, and has given the mount to Ted Gondron.

Don Pettinger ships in from Oklahoma to ride Bien Nicole, who in her last start won a $50,000 optional claimer at Lone Star. Last year, she won a two-turn turf stakes at Remington Park for trainer Donnie Von Hemel.

Others of note in the Margarita include the stakes-placed Asheville, who is looking for her first win around two turns, and Wolfnik, a recent claim by trainer Bret Calhoun. In her last start, Wolfnik finished third to Bien Nicole.