06/28/2004 11:00PM

American Oaks has global appeal


LAS VEGAS - Among the many big races over the July 4 weekend is the American Oaks on Saturday at Hollywood Park, a race that could be renamed the International Oaks because of the presence of six foreign-based fillies.

Misty Heights and Steel Princess are from Ireland; Boulevardofdreams and French Lady are from New Zealand; Dance in the Mood is from Japan; and Kalatuna is from France.

Misty Heights won the McCalmont Stakes in Ireland at one mile and will try to stretch her brilliance to 10 furlongs in the American Oaks. Misty Heights is by Fasliyev (Nureyev), a brilliant undefeated champion who raced only at age 2 and who was Europe's leading freshman sire last year. Misty Heights gets a strong dose of stamina from her damsire, Shirley Heights, and her female family produced Larida, Kittiwake, Ole Liz, and Miss Oceana.

The highly regarded Dance in the Mood finished fourth in the Japanese Oaks but previously won the Group 1 Oka Sho at one mile. She is by Sunday Silence, who became the Northern Dancer of Japan. Dance in the Mood is a full sister to Dance Partner, a champion 3-year-old filly and older mare in Japan, and Dance in the Dark, a champion 3-year-old colt in Japan. Dance in the Mood's female family became a prolific source of European stakes winners, including Ajdal (3-year-old champion colt in England and France), Formidable and Fabuleux Jane (the second dam of Arazi, a champion at 2 in France and the United States).

Steel Princess finished 10th in the French Oaks, but like most runners by Danehill, she should have no problem at 10 furlongs and has the stayers Caerleon and Mill Reef up close in her pedigree.

French Lady was second in the AJC Oaks in Australia before finishing 11th against colts in the Williams Handicap. She has a strong pedigree for 10 furlongs. French Lady is by the successful sire Entrepreneur, a son of Sadler's Wells, and traces to Cosmah (a half-sister to Natalma, the dam of Northern Dancer), the dam of four stakes winners, including champion Tosmah and influential sire Halo.

Boulevardofdreams (by Daggers Drawn, a son of Diesis) finished sixth in an allowance race in her last start in New Zealand and faces a tough task in the American Oaks.

The American representatives are not without merit. Mambo Slew (Kingmambo) won the Miesque Stakes over the Hollywood turf as a 2-year-old and won the Sands Point at Belmont. The Honeymoon Stakes winner, Lovely Rafaela, as well as the second- and fourth-place finishers, Western Hemisphere and Ticker Tape, are probables. Hollywood Story, by the white-hot young sire Wild Rush (the sire of this year's Mother Goose Stakes winner, Stellar Jayne), was third in the Hollywood Oaks and will try to transfer her dirt form to grass.

Finally, there is Western Ransom, who has developed quickly for trainer Michael Dickinson. Second in the Regret Stakes at Churchill in her last start, Western Ransom is by Red Ransom out of a Gone West mare who is a half-sister to Aletta Maria, the dam of Cetewayo and Bowman Mill.

Some pedigree observations from this past week:

* The late Unbridled got another classic winner last weekend when Niigon won the Queen's Plate Stakes, the first race in Canada's Triple Crown. Unbridled, winner of the 1990 Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup Classic, established himself as a major stallion with his first crop, which included 1996 Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone (the sire of this year's Belmont Stakes winner, Birdstone) and Unbridled's Song. Unbridled has sired winners of all three Triple Crown races. Red Bullet won the 2000 Preakness Stakes and Empire Maker the 2003 Belmont Stakes. Unbridled also sired a champion filly, Banshee Breeze.

* Broadway Gold lived up to her billing, winning the Astoria Stakes at Belmont last Sunday. When 2-year-old fillies by Seeking the Gold show such early brilliance, they usually turn out to be very special runners, such as Flanders, Heavenly Prize, and Cash Run. Like those three fillies, Broadway Gold descends from a distinguished female family. Her dam, Miss Doolittle, is by Storm Cat out of 2-year-old filly champion Eliza (Mt. Livermore).

* Trainer Bobby Frankel has so many top-class older fillies, it will be fun to see how he keeps them apart. In addition to multiple stakes and group winner Intercontinental (a full sister to Banks Hill, Dansili, and Cacique, and half-sister to Heat Haze), and the classy group winner, Etoile Montante, Frankel has a new star, the 4-year-old filly Light Jig, who won the Beverly Hills Handicap on Sunday at Hollywood. Light Jig is by the late superstar stallion Danehill. Light Jig is out of a Blushing Groom mare, Nashmeel, a group 2 winner who was also group 1-placed multiple times. This female family traces to Blonde Belle, a full sister to the great stallion Bubbling Over.