01/21/2005 12:00AM

'Traci' has speedster to catch


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Traci Girl, who closed out last year in sharp form after receiving a trainer change to Bruce Levine, turns back from a route to six furlongs and will have to catch the speedy Electrical Carlita in Sunday's eighth race. Or it could be Thursday's eighth race, depending on what Mother Nature had in store for the New York metropolitan area over the weekend.

Forecasters were calling for anywhere from six inches to a foot of snow from Saturday afternoon into Sunday. If weather conditions force the cancellation of Sunday's races, the entire card will be moved to Thursday, with no draw of entries Sunday. Thursday's condition-book races would then become "extra races" for Friday's draw.

"If the roads are safe, the track is in good shape, and it's not snowing, our intention is to run on Sunday," said Bill Nader, senior vice president of the New York Racing Association. "But if the storm comes in late and builds into Sunday, we're in trouble. We're at the mercy of the white powder."

In her current form, will be tough to beat any day of the week, but it's fair to say her connections would prefer a fast track, because that has been the condition for each of her career victories. Traci Girl breaks from the rail in this third-level allowance/optional claiming sprint, after returning from a 54-day freshening to run a close second to the unbeaten Saintliness at 1 1/16 miles, an effort that looks all the more impressive after Saintliness won last week's Affectionately Handicap to run her record to 5 for 5.

The one for Traci Girl to catch this time is , and that is the case virtually every time Electrical Carlita goes to the post. From 17 starts last year for Scott Lake, Electrical Carlita had the lead at the first call 15 times, the two exceptions occurring at Charles Town early last spring in 4 1/2-furlong dashes.

Electrical Carlita was one of seven wire-to-wire winners on a sloppy and speed-favoring track in her first start of the year Jan. 6. She drew post 7 for this assignment, but will move at least one stall closer to the inside because the Joe Orseno-trained entry of Grinch and Meadow Fox each has meet-leading rider Rafael Bejarano named, so one must scratch.