01/27/2002 12:00AM

Take The Cake takes the Forward Gal Stakes

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Take The Cake was never close to A New Twist when the pair met three weeks ago in the Old Hat Stakes. But she had little trouble turning the tables on A New Twist in the rematch, rallying to a convincing three and one quarter length victory over the 2-5 favorite in Sunday's $100,000 Forward Gal Stakes.

A New Twist won the six furlong Old Hat by three and one half lengths with Take The Cake finishing sixth, nearly 14 lengths behind in her 3-year-old and stakes debut. But with Rene Douglas aboard for the first time Take The Cake showed marked improvement, saving ground around the turn before angling out into the stretch and easily running by the leaders to win going away.

A New Twist was hard used on the lead when engaged by Cherokee Girl after the opening quarter mile of the seven furlong Forward Gal. The pair raced as a team the remainder of the trip with A New Twist outgaming that rival by a neck for second money.

French Satin, Excellent Choice, Blissful Kiss and Ciudad de Carson rounded out the complete order of finish.

Take The Cake, who is trained by Carl Nafzger for owner-breeder Eliazbeth Valando, paid $46.20 after covering the distance in 1:25.47.

"The last time she was a little short and six furlongs really isn't her game," said Nafzger referring to Take The Cake's effort in the Old Hat. "She got a lot better trip this time. Originally I thought about running her back in an allowance race but the race came up in the book at five furlongs. She also came out of her last race well and went forward since then. I knew she'd run better today and thought it was worth trying her in the stakes."

Trainer John Kimmel said "there we no excuses other than the usual things you think about. She's running back quickly, picking up weight(six pounds) and coming off a big performance."

Despite finishing second on A New Twist, jockey Edgar Prado had a banner day winning five of the other eight races decided on Sunday's program."