02/18/2003 12:00AM

Three with last-race trouble


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trip handicappers will have plenty of options from which to choose when doping out Thursday's featured entry-level allowance race for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles over Gulfstream Park's turf course.

Ballado Hill, Storm Clipper, and Constancy all had their share of trouble in their last starts, though Ballado Hill was talented enough to overcome hers and win. Storm Clipper encountered her problems when racing in stakes company, while Constancy makes a return visit to this allowance condition.

In her seasonal debut here Jan. 10, Ballado Hill was bumped several times at the start, and then was forced to steady once on the first turn and twice in the stretch before finding room late to win. Moreover, she overcame a pedestrian pace - a half-mile run in 52.15 seconds.

Thursday, she must overcome post 8 in the 10-horse field. She will be ridden by Jorge Chavez.

Constancy, whose dam, Lake Chase, is a half-sister to Carr de Naskra, figures to take a lot of money since she hails from the powerful Bill Mott-Jerry Bailey team. In her last start - her first for Mott - Constancy was carried out wide into the first turn then closed rapidly but fell a neck short of Dyna Flyer.

Storm Clipper could offer the best value of the trio. A half-sister to stakes winners Cahill Connection and Rumsonontheriver, Storm Clipper is dropping in class from a sixth-place finish in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride Stakes on the Gulfsteam turf. In that race, she was rank and had to steady early and could not overcome a slow pace when trying to make up ground late.

Actually, trainer Barclay Tagg was quite happy with her performance that day, considering she was coming off a maiden win at Calder going five furlongs on dirt.

"I thought the competition might be too tough for her sprinting on the dirt down here, but when I saw that little race at Calder I thought it might give us a chance to break her maiden," Tagg said. "She had shown enough on the turf that I kind of liked her on the turf. I thought it might be a little easier. She doesn't have bad knees, but she doesn't have good knees."

Since the Herecomesthebride, Storm Clipper has worked a bullet four-furlongs at Palm Meadows on Feb. 11.

"She keeps us optimistic though she hasn't shown anything outstanding yet," Tagg said.

Catalina Cat, who comes out of the same race as Constancy, and Mysterieuse Etoile, who ran well in three turf starts for Patrick Byrne last year, are also in with a chance. Mysterieuse Etoile runs with blinkers for the first time.

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