11/30/2005 12:00AM

Sahadi filly has excuse for last dud


ALBANY, Calif. - Friday's Golden Gate feature, a $50,000 optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, drew an international field, with runners from Brazil, South Africa, and France among the entrants.

Ten fillies and mares were entered, nine of them running without a tag at the second allowance condition.

The three foreign-breds are , who is on the also-eligible list.

Trainer Jenine Sahadi had high hopes when she sent Royal Emblem out for her United States debut at Hollywood Park on June 5. She left the track that day disappointed and confused.

Royal Emblem, 4, who came to Sahadi from the United Arab Emirates, ran fifth in a field of six. She broke slowly and was squeezed back at the start.

"By the time they got around the first turn, she was in a comfortable spot," Sahadi said. "She'd been finishing great in her works, but she ran very flat.

"I loved her going into the race and left disappointed."

The next morning Sahadi found out why Royal Emblem didn't fire. "She had a 104 degree temperature," she said.

Royal Emblem also came out of that race with a muscle pull.

Royal Emblem's temperature blazed for a week before she began to recover. She was sent to a farm to recuperate.

She has worked nicely for her second U.S. start on Friday, and Sahadi's hopes again are high for Royal Emblem, a Group 2 winner in South Africa.

"We bought her because she'd run some nice races and because she's a beautiful filly," Sahadi said.

"We need to get started with her. We've done everything we could in the morning. I hope she runs to the way she's been breezing."

Though last early in her U.S. debut, Royal Emblem showed stalking speed before that. She should settle not too far off the pace on Friday, probably behind Mood Route and Ligacao Direta.

La Balladar, who sat second in the Moment to Buy in her last start, and Dominiques Darling, who recently won a sprint coming down the hill at Santa Anita, help ensure a legitimate pace.

Ligacao Direta was second in the E.B. Johnston at Fairplex in her U.S. debut, then won an allowance turf race at Oak Tree.