11/25/2004 1:00AM

Undefeated Factual Lady faces her toughest test yet


ALBANY, Calif. - Unbeaten 3-year-old filly Factual Lady gets the sternest test of her career Saturday at Golden Gate Fields.

has won each of her four starts, moving up against tougher competition each time and twice beating older rivals.

But Saturday, in a six-furlong allowance sprint, she goes against older multiple stakes winners Christmas Time, Our Mango, Pheiffer, and Top Penny, as well as Lyin Goddess, a fellow 3-year-old who won the Juan Gonzalez Memorial Stakes in her career debut.

The only other non-stakes winner in the field besides Factual Lady, Grant Marty a Wish, is stakes placed and has the most wins (nine) and highest bankroll ($283,956) in the field.

Trainer Greg Gilchrist bought Factual Lady, a Smoke Glacken filly, for $50,000 for Joe Stiglich at the Ocala April yearling sale last year.

"She has talent, but we thought she'd have trouble carrying her speed three-quarters," Gilchrist said. "She's learned to rate. She doesn't have to have the lead."

Factual Lady made her debut for a $30,000 tag at Pleasanton, opening a big lead in the lane and holding on as the 8-5 choice. She won at odds-on in a $32,000 starter allowance race at Santa Rosa in her second start, then won her first two allowance condition races at Bay Meadows.

Though Saturday's competition is rugged, Gilchrist believes his filly is ready for the challenge.

"We knew who we'd run against when we entered," he said. "You've seen Christmas Time and Pheiffer run over and over again for the past year. Hopefully, we'll be competitive.

"Every time she's run, it's been, 'she won't win this time.' Maybe this time she won't win."

There is plenty of speed in the race, which means the ability to rate could be key for Factual Lady.

Lyin Goddess, who won her comeback in wire-to-wire style at Bay Meadows, draws the rail for the second straight time and may have to flash that speed again. Christmas Time, drawn beside Lyin Goddess, has won from the front as have Top Penny, Pheiffer, and Grant Marty a Wish.

Even Our Mango has run well on the pace. But she may have the advantage here because she can come from off the pace more effectively than her rivals.