07/31/2004 12:00AM

Society Selection romps in Test

Society Selection, ridden by Edgar Prado, comes from off a fast pace to win the Test by 6 1/4 lengths.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Allen Jerkens got the fast pace he was looking for and Society Selection did the rest as she overpowered Forest Music inside the eighth pole and drew clear for a 6 1/4-length victory in Saturday's Grade 1, $250,000 at soggy Saratoga.

Bending Strings, who finished second behind Society Selection in the Comely Stakes at Aqueduct in April, rallied to get second again, 3 3/4 lengths ahead of Forest Music. It was another 4 1/4 lengths back to Friendly Michelle, the 2-1 favorite.

It was the second victory in the Test for Jerkens, who won this race in 1992 with November Snow. Jerkens said earlier in the week that Society Selection reminded him somewhat of November Snow in that both benefited from a fast pace.

That fast pace materialized when Forest Music, breaking from post 12, jumped out of the gate under Shaun Bridgmohan and ran an opening quarter in 21.51 seconds while being chased by Dazzle Me and Rodeo Licious.

Forest Music put those two away by running the half-mile in 44.19 seconds. Edgar Prado, meanwhile, let Society Selection settle into last early on, and let her advance four wide into contention around the turn.

Society Selection ($8.70) moved into second turning for home and easily blew past a tiring Forest Music in the final furlong. Society Selection, a daughter of Coronado's Quest owned and bred by Irv and Marjorie Cowan, covered the seven furlongs in 1:23.69.

"It set up beautifully,'' said Prado, who earlier on the card won the Grade 1 Diana Stakes aboard Wonder Again. "There was a lot of speed in the race. That's what she needs. Her better races were like that, coming from off the pace. Passing the three-eighths pole she started picking them up. The horse in front had to have kept going pretty strong.''

The Test was run over a sealed, muddy racetrack after heavy showers began falling 90 minutes before the race.

"When it gets muddy like this you don't know that it's going to turn out like that, because every once in a while the speed is going to hold and the horses that are in the back get so much dirt in their faces, sometimes they don't want to try,'' Jerkens said. "She got clear; she lost a little bit of ground but she got rolling.''

Jerkens said he would likely point Society Selection to the Grade 1 Gazelle, a one-turn, nine-furlong race at Belmont on Sept. 11.