06/18/2002 11:00PM

Trickey Trevor faces his toughest test


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - It almost seems like two cards in one.

The spate of slow entry days ended at Arlington when 99 horses were entered for Friday's nine-race program, an average of 11 horses per race.

Besides quantity, there is variety and quality, specifically the eighth race, a second-level allowance sprint at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Nine were entered in the race, including a Louie Roussel-trained entry, but the focus rests squarely on Trickey Trevor, who seeks to win his third race without a defeat.

As a 2-year-old, Trickey Trevor debuted at Arlington almost a year ago for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who co-owns the colt with Marta Racing Ventures. At odds of 6-1, he broke sharply, contested the early pace, and finished up well to beat Thunder Days and Jeremiah Jack, both of whom subsequently won their next race. Trickey Trevor clearly had promise, but he disappeared, the victim of a leg injury that required a lot of rest to heal.

Hollendorfer waited, waited, and then did the same thing he had last year - point Trickey Trevor for the Arlington meet. He was even more impressive this year.

On opening day here, Trickey Trevor made his first start in 11 months. With an inside post and speed under him, jockey Rene Douglas had little choice but to go for the lead, and Trickey Trevor battled through a fast early pace. Instead of folding in the stretch, Trickey Trevor accelerated, putting away his speed rivals and finishing his last furlong in a quick 12 seconds to win by almost two lengths, running seven furlongs in 1:22.80.

As tough as it is for a horse to win his first two starts, going straight through two allowance conditions is much more difficult, and Trickey Trevor is far from a cinch Friday. He has drawn post 1, and there is plenty of speed to his outside.

It is difficult to imagine Douglas taking his mount back and trying to come around horses, and indeed, Trickey Trevor's best chance to win again may be dealing with the other speed early and taking his chances in the stretch.

Demondeed, perhaps the most logical alternative to Trickey Trevor, also does his best when on or near the lead, but is less likely than Trickey Trevor to survive a speed duel.

Saucy Performance, half of the Roussel entry, might pose the biggest threat to Trickey Trevor. He was beaten more than two lengths in a Hawthorne allowance race in his last start, but finished five lengths clear of third that day and is best in the role of a stalker.

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