05/28/2005 12:00AM

Twilight Road obvious target this time


MIAMI - Twilight Road surprised just about everyone, including his trainer, David Fawkes, when he registered an easy victory in the 2004 Memorial Day Handicap at Calder. He will fool nobody Monday, though, if he successfully defends that title against seven rivals in the Grade 3, $100,000 holiday fixture.

rallied from mid-pack, then drew off with authority through the stretch to post a 5 1/4-length triumph in last year's 1 1/16-mile Memorial Day Handicap. The victory was his first around two turns.

"I wasn't surprised that he ran well last year," said Fawkes. "What surprised me is that he could run like that going a distance of ground, since up to that point I thought he was only a seven-furlong horse."

An 8-year-old son of Cahill Road, Twilight Road has continued to hold his form well in the year since his breakthrough victory in the Memorial Day Handicap. In eight subsequent starts, he has won the Grade 3 Miami Breeders' Cup Mile on turf; finished second in the Flying Pidgeon; second in the Grade 3 Fred Hooper Handicap; second, beaten a half-length by Eurosilver, in Gulfstream Park's Grade 3 Skip Away Handicap; and most recently third in the Grade 3 Texas Mile at Lone Star.

"He's coming into this race as well as he did last year, and I think the competition might even be easier this time around," said Fawkes, who will again give regular rider Phil Teator the call.

Twilight Road will carry high weight of 119 pounds in the Memorial Day, conceding from four to eight pounds to opponents that include last year's runner-up, Hear No Evil; multiple stakes winner Built Up; and Who's Crying Now. The remainder of the lineup consists of Biblical Scholar, Runnintothealter, Demeteor, and Flirt With Fortune.

Conspicuous by their absence Monday will be Super Frolic and Dancing Guy. Super Frolic would have been the second choice coming off an easy win in an overnight stakes, but he was shipped to Delaware Park after being sold privately last week. Dancing Guy won the 2000 and 2003 renewals of the Memorial Day Handicap and has competed in the race each of the last six years.

Twilight Road figures to catch an honest pace, with Hear No Evil and Runnintothealter both expected to show good speed. Built Up, whose form has tailed off since he defeated Super Frolic in the Grade 3 Spend a Buck Handicap here last fall, loves this track and is capable of beating this field if he can bounce back with one of his better performances Monday.