03/02/2002 1:00AM

Secret Liaison too fast in Sacramento


ALBANY, Calif. - Front-running Secret Liaison, under constant pressure throughout, pulled away through the lane and scored a two-length victory in the $55,750 Sacramento Handicap at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday.

Secret Liaison ($3.60) set brisk early fractions of 22.19, 45.69 and 1:10.58 as she discouraged Phaenna early. She got a bit of a breather on the turn and spurted away after De Goddaughter ranged up along side heading into the stretch. The winning time was 1:36.01.

"She's pretty gutsy," winning trainer Ted West said. "Russell (Baze, the winning jockey) said she relaxed really nice. You like to hear that the first time they run in a route. She'll open up, let them catch her, the re-rally."

The victory was the third straight for Secret Liaison, who has now won five of nine starts and $166,000.