03/04/2010 12:00AM

Sheikh's Serenade yet to show best

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - In 2008, trainer Bill Mott thought Sheikh's Serenade might be the best juvenile filly in his barn, but an ankle issue put her on the sidelines for a year following her maiden win that November.

Mott still has high hopes for the 4-year-old Sheikh's Serenade, who is the one to beat when facing six rivals in Friday's $51,000 allowance feature at Gulfstream Park.

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Sheikh's Serenade is by Unbridled's Song out of Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Desert Stormer. A Live Oak Plantation homebred, Sheikh's Serenade returned a year after winning her maiden going a mile at Aqueduct to defeat the highly regarded Qualia under first-level allowance conditions in her lone start at 3. She wasn't as fortunate, however, in her 2010 debut, when she was shuffled back to last in the run down the backstretch before finishing third against the same second-level optional-claiming opposition that she'll face Friday.

"I thought she was my best 2-year-old filly at the time, and maybe she was," Mott said with a grin. "She got a little chip in the ankle, and it took a while to bring her back. She got shaved a little bit in her last start but she's doing well, and I don't think she's really got it all together yet. I don't think we've seen the best of her yet."

Sheikh's Serenade figures to be favored Friday in a field that includes top contenders Wyatt's Women and Golden Mystery.

Wyatt's Women has won 4 of 8 starts since being purchased privately by Farnsworth Stables LLC and turned over to trainer Marty Wolfson last summer. She finished several lengths behind Sheikh's Serenade following a slow start Jan. 14 and was subsequently second behind Pinkarella when wheeling back against the same kind four weeks later.

Golden Mystery is a bit of a mystery, having been idle for the past five months, but she could be dangerous if she shows the type of speed that led to an impressive debut win here last winter. Trained by Jose Pinchin, Golden Mystery has been working bullets at Calder for her return.

Quick Notice could not reproduce several fast morning workouts of her own when finishing sixth, three lengths behind Wyatt's Women, when returning from a 10-month vacation in her local debut. Quick Notice finished third in the nine-furlong Grade 3 Sixty Sails Handicap last April at Hawthorne Park.