10/04/2006 11:00PM

Songster finishes up in Gallant Bob


This is the time of the year when the connections of the world's fastest horses are thinking about one last prep before the Breeders' Cup.

For Songster, a 3-year-old Grade 2 stakes winner, Saturday's $100,000 Gallant Bob Handicap at Philadelphia Park is the end of the line for this season.

Trainer Tom Albertrani said that regardless of the outcome the Gallant Bob will be Songster's last start until 2007. He will be freshened and pointed to the Sunshine Millions Sprint at Santa Anita on Jan. 27.

Songster and Fabulous Strike, a Penn National-based horse, head a group of seven 3-year-olds for the Gallant Bob, which is run at six furlongs and goes as race 7 on the card.

Songster won the Grade 2 Woody Stephens at Belmont in June, then was second in the Grade 2 Amsterdam at Saratoga in late July and a tiring fifth in the Grade 1 King's Bishop at Saratoga.

"I'd just like to see him come back to his form after his last two races," Albertrani said. "I'd like to see him win another stakes, hopefully. He's had a pretty tough campaign and he does better with more time between races."

Fabulous Strike, trained by Todd Beattie, set the pace for six furlongs before tiring in the final eighth of the seven-furlong Woody Stephens. He earned triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures for wins in two overnight stakes at Belmont. Fabulous Strike is cross-entered in the $100,000 Sonny Hine at Laurel, where he's listed as the 7-5 morning line favorite.

The Gallant Bob field also includes Diabolical, who will be cutting back from a series of routes, primarily on the turf. Diabolical hasn't sprinted since finishing second in the 6 1/2-furlong Spectacular Bid at Gulfstream Park in April. He has been in front at the six-furlong call at each of his last four starts, including a win in an overnight stakes at Delaware Park in July.

* Hailie's Girl, first or second in 8 of 10 lifetime starts, including a statebred stakes victory locally in July, stretches out beyond seven furlongs for the first time in the 1 1/16-mile Pistol Packer (race 6).

Her competition includes She's Fancy Free, most recently third against open stakes company, and Defrere's Venture, who finished 2 1/4 lengths behind Hailie's Girl in the July 29 Ambassador of Luck.

- additional reporting by David Grening