12/22/2001 1:00AM

Three-time chalk loser tries again


It doesn't matter if the setting is Maryland, Pennsylvania, or Delaware. No matter where Lorline runs, she's almost always the favorite.

A 5-year-old mare trained by Michael Dickinson, Lorline has been the public choice in seven of her last 10 starts, including each of her four most recent races. Returning off a seven-week layoff, Lorline is likely to be favored again in Monday's $25,000 Deck the Halls Handicap, a six-furlong overnight race for fillies and mares at Philadelphia Park. First post for the Christmas Eve card is 12:15 p.m., 10 minutes earlier than usual.

Lorline has been burning money lately. She has failed to win each of her last three starts as the odds-on favorite. In that stretch, she has been beaten by two of the runners she will face in the Deck the Halls, Malvern Rose and Vikki Slew.

Malvern Rose, a winner of three of seven starts this year, romped by five lengths and finished

13 3/4 lengths ahead of Lorline in an allowance race at Philly Park on Nov. 5. In her most recent start, however, Malvern Rose faded to last after dueling through fast fractions of 22.09 and 44.76 seconds for the first half-mile of a seven-furlong allowance. She is trained by Penn National-based John Zimmerman

Vikki Slew, who beat Lorline by 1 1/2 lengths in a seven-furlong stakes on Labor Day, comes out of the same last race as Malvern Rose. Vikki Rose dueled for the lead, but held better, finishing a length behind the winner.

A dangerous newcomer in the field is Arianna's Passion, who has yet to run worse than second.