01/30/2002 1:00AM

This time, Scagnelli may not stop


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Despite having things his own way and losing a two-length lead in the final furlong, Scagnelli's second-place finish at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 12 was extremely strong.

Speed on turf was not holding, Scagnelli was making his first start in two months, and it took a graded stakes winner, Drama Critic, to run him down.

Lately, speed has done better over this turf course, Scagnelli has a race and a bullet work under his belt, and he cuts back to his favorite distance of one mile. All those factors should make Scagnelli tough to beat in Friday's money allowance feature.

Scagnelli, a 7-year-old gelding, is 5-5-1 in 12 starts at a mile, including a victory in the Bob Harding Stakes at Monmouth Park on Aug. 26.

"The mile is a much better distance for him,'' said Eddie Broome, who claimed Scagnelli for himself for $50,000 in November 2000.

In the Jan. 12 race here, Scagnelli opened up a two-length lead while setting slow fractions, but he could not offer resistance when Drama Critic blew past him in the final furlong.

"He did bobble twice in that race,'' Broome said. "He ran a big race. I know speed had been dying, it really was a heavy course. It's tightened up some since then.''

Scagnelli came back to work a half-mile in 48.80 seconds over the turf course on Jan. 23, the best of four works at the distance. Mark Guidry rides from post 4.

Scagnelli may have to deal with some early pace pressure from Glick, who makes his return to the races off a 5 1/2-month layoff. Glick is 3 for 4 at a mile and has a preliminary allowance victory over this course.

Should Scagnelli and Glick get into a duel, that could set it up for a closer such as Flying Avie, Sejm's Madness, or Punkin Head.

Flying Avie was outfinished by Ravaro in a $62,500 claiming race here on Jan. 19, his first start off a two-month layoff. He got a great trip under Pat Day, but loses that rider to Punkin Head.

Punkin Head only went 2 for 13 last year, but both wins came over this turf course, including a half-length score in the Robsphere Handicap on March 12.

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