01/22/2005 1:00AM

Savorthetime makes the grade

Ridden by John Velazquez, Savorthetime pulls away to a 2 1/2-length victory in the Grade 3 The First Lady Handicap at Gulfstream on Saturday.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Steve Asmussen was looking to get some black type on Savorthetime's resume, which was why he shipped the 6-year-old mare from her winter home at Fair Grounds to Gulfstream Park for Saturday's $100,000 . His decision proved to be a wise one after Savorthetime rallied to a 2 1/2-length victory over the pacesetting Cologny to win the Grade 3 dash.

Savorthetime, a daughter of Gilded Time, had won 9 of her previous 23 starts, and earlier this year set the six-furlong track record at Lone Star. But before The First Lady, she had had little success when stepping into graded company.

Racing in perfect position under jockey John Velazquez along what had been a favorable rail all day, Savorthetime eased out to go after Cologny leaving the turn, caught that rival inside the eighth pole, then won going away.

Cologny shook loose on an easy lead as expected and set sensible fractions of 22.38 seconds and 44.87, but proved no match for the winner while easily best of the rest. Ebony Breeze saved ground following a slow start and rallied mildly to finish third, 3 3/4 lengths behind Cologny.

Feline Story, Expect an Angel, Una Mirim, and Pop Princess rounded out the order of finish.

Savorthetime was the first horse Asmussen has sent out at the meet. The nation's winningest trainer in 2004, Asmussen is not stabled at Gulfstream this winter, nor was he in attendance for The First Lady.

"This was an easy trip," said Velazquez. "Stalk the speed and chirp at her when it was time. Totally a piece of cake."

"As long as she's doing well, we're going to keep on racing her," said Philip Robertson, who owns Savorthetime along with his wife, Brenda. "It will be up to Steve to figure out what's next."