10/13/2005 11:00PM

Trickle of Gold fastest of fast


A combination of sharp form and early speed figure to create quite a crowd fighting for the lead in Sunday's Grade 3, $150,000 Safely Kept Breeders' Cup at Laurel Park.

Not only have six of the seven 3-year-old fillies entered in the six-furlong stakes finished first or second last time out, but also they all have either led or been within a half-length of the leader in most of their good recent races.

Although the group includes four stakes winners, led by the Grade 1-placed Maddalena, it's a filly who has never finished better than fourth in any stakes who may be the speed of the speed.

Trickle of Gold, based at Delaware Park with trainer Mike Gorham, has won her last three starts, all in wire-to-wire fashion, by a combined 25 3/4 lengths.

A temperamental filly who used to get extremely nervous in prerace warmups, Trickle of Gold has run the first half-mile in 2 of her last 3 starts in less than 45 seconds. Her last two Beyer Speed Figures of 96 and 95 are the best recent speed figures in the field.

Three times last year, Trickle of Gold got loose during the post parade, Gorham said. Trickle of Gold was just 1 for 5 last year.

"She was a very nervous juvenile," he said. "We turned her out and she settled down nicely. She always showed talent, but her inexperience was keeping her from reaching peak potential. We gave her some time and let her progress through her allowance conditions so she could be seasoned with a few races under her belt before trying a stakes."

Those who could challenge Trickle of Gold for the early lead include Ebony Star, who has won her last two races, the New York-bred Slew Motion, and Lady Dynasty.

Based on class, Maddalena is the horse to beat. Winner of the Grade 3 Old Hat at Gulfstream last February and second in the Grade 1 Prioress at Belmont in July, Maddalena will be making her first start since late August.

Starleena has won 2 of 3 starts since she was claimed for $50,000 by trainer Bernie Flint. She earned a career-best 90 Beyer last time out at Mountaineer.

A hot and contested early pace could set up things for Partners Due, the only Laurel-based horse in the field. A winner of minor stakes at Belmont and Colonial Downs this summer, Partners Due rallied to romp by 5 1/4 lengths in her only previous start at Laurel.