06/06/2005 11:00PM

Skip's Gal sitting on a win


ALBANY, Calif. - holds several distinctions on Thursday's Golden Gate Fields card.

The 8-year-old mare will be the oldest horse competing. She has hit the board 15 times, a figure matched by only Marquet First among runners on the day's card, and she has made 30 starts, the most of any of the day's runners. She is also the leading money-earner with $111,078.

And she is still a maiden.

She has seven seconds and eight thirds, including two in allowance company, during her career. She ran for a claiming price only once, when she ran in a $32,000 maiden claimer on April 18 after a 20-month layoff.

She is, in short, a trial horse who has been competitive against some good runners on their way up. She has made a good living for owner-trainer Richard Gach, who got his first training victory in 1976.

She is likely to remain a maiden after Thursday's race, a 1 1/16-mile maiden event on the turf, as she meets seven rivals, including , who was a troubled second beating her by one length when they met at the same distance on May 22.

Also in the field is Awesome Beginning, who has had a similar career, with 5 seconds and 7 thirds in 20 career starts, good for earnings of $85,742.

The most likely winner of the race, though, is , a 4-year-old filly sent north in search of a diploma. An 8-5 favorite in her last start, she moved into contention turning for home when she steadied and stumbled to lose all momentum.

She needs only a clean trip to earn her first career win and should be able to sit wherever she wants, although she may have to be used a bit early because of her outside post.

The turf is also the site of the day's nominal feature, a $25,000 claimer at five furlongs that will open the card.

It will mark the turf debut for four of the six runners, and only Dino Camino, claimed by Doug O'Neill for $25,000 in his last start, has a victory on the turf.

, third and second against allowance rivals in his past two starts, appears the one to catch and to beat. Michael Motorcycle is trained by Art Sherman, who just lost Dino Camino and also Royalty Louis, claimed from a victory for $16,000.

Michael Motorcycle's biggest rival could be , stepping up off a victory in a $12,500 race.

* Jockey Carlos Silva begins a three-day suspension Thursday after causing interference in the stretch and being disqualified from first to second aboard Winsome Girl last Thursday.