02/08/2006 12:00AM

Sunday Dress vs. Irish Linen


ALBANY, Calif. - Sunday Dress appears the one to beat in Friday's Golden Gate Fields feature as she moves back to the main track.

, 4, made her turf and two-turn debut in her last start on Jan. 25 at Bay Meadows and was a lukewarm favorite coming off a maiden victory sprinting.

She sat just off Doctorinthenews in a 7 1/2-furlong grass race in her last start, took the lead in the lane, and couldn't withstand Mac Rhapsody's closing kick.

She has had an easy three-furlong drill since then as she returns to her home track, and she has never finished worse than second in five career starts.

But Sunday Dress might face a tougher challenge than it appears on paper from Irish Linen.

ran fifth against Sunday Dress last time, finishing 1 1/2 lengths behind her. Though 8 of her 12 career starts and her lone win have come on the turf, the switch to the main track may benefit her, too.

"I think she runs well anywhere," said Irish Linen's trainer, Ricardo Perez. "She tries on any kind of track."

Irish Linen has had seven tries at this level - for horses that have run for a claiming price of $40,000 or lower and have only one career victory. She has earned checks in six of those starts. "She always picks up checks, and this is kind of an easy condition," Perez said.

Irish Linen didn't start until her 4-year-old year after being purchased privately as a 3-year-old.

She has not missed a dance since, nibbling and picking up small paychecks.

"I'd like to get a bigger check this time," Perez said. "I don't see any reason she won't run well."

* Rio Rosie, claimed from her maiden victory in her last start, appears the one to beat in the co-feature, a $40,000 starter allowance at six furlongs for 3-year-old fillies.