03/31/2005 12:00AM

Right setup for Mauk Four


Mauk Four, a front-runner who has finished second in stakes in his last three starts, could get the kind of trip that puts him over the top in Saturday night's $125,000 Gulf Coast Breeders' Cup, the closing-night stakes at Delta Downs.

Mauk Four drew the outside post in a field of seven. In the Feb. 12 Essex and March 13 Razorback, both Grade 3 races at Oaklawn, he broke from the inside and set a pressured pace.

This time around, the outside draw could give leading jockey Guy Smith the option of going to the lead or laying off the pace.

"If he had to, he could lay second or third," said Jerry Cart, who trains Mauk Four for R and W Srygley Partnership.

Mauk Four has the speed to set the pace in the Gulf Coast, but could also stalk several quick rivals to his inside: Britt's Jules, High Strike Zone, Excessivepleasure, and Witt Ante.

In his last start, Mauk Four finished second by a neck in the Razorback at 23-1. Cart is pleased with how Mauk Four is coming into the Gulf Coast.

"He's training super good," said Cart. "Everything is sitting on go."

With all of the speed, the biggest late threat to Mauk Four and company will be Golden Glen. He closed from 12 lengths back to finish third last out in the $50,000 Delta Mile, the prep for the Gulf Coast, which was won by the front-running High Strike Zone. Golden Glen was making his first start at Delta.

"He'll benefit from the out over the racetrack, and the added distance," said Bobby Barnett, who trains Golden Glen for Stony Oak Farm.

Brian Hernandez Jr. will ride Golden Glen, who last year was a fast-closing second in the Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby. Earlier this year, Golden Glen was second in a 1 1/16-mile allowance at Fair Grounds.

High Strike Zone has won two stakes at the meet. Trained by Amos Laborde, his first win was in the $50,000 Marshland at one mile in October, and in his most recent start he captured the Delta Mile. Ricky Faul has the mount on High Strike Zone, who is owned by Donald Erickson.

Britt's Jules will be stretching out around two turns for the first time since November, while Excessivepleasure invades from Santa Anita, where last out he was third in a restricted stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs on Feb. 20.