07/18/2001 12:00AM

Another lightning strike?


ELMONT, N.Y. - Six weeks ago, a lightly raced 3-year-old filly from the John Ward stable shocked a strong field in the Grade 1 Acorn to win at odds of 50-1.

Saturday, another Ward-trained 3-year-old filly with only two starts under her belt will try to upset a decent field in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at 12 furlongs at Belmont Park. Can Ten Flags do Saturday what Forest Secrets did six weeks ago?

"I don't know if you could ever get that lucky twice," said Donna Ward, assistant to and wife of John Ward.

But it's certainly worth a try. Like Forest Secrets, Ten Flags has raced only twice heading into her stakes debut. After finishing fourth behind Forest Secrets in April, Ten Flags won her maiden by six lengths at a mile here on June 22. She raced extremely wide that day under John Velazquez, but was much the best winning in hand.

"This is a really nice filly that I think wants to go long," Donna Ward said. "At this point in the year, I'm not sure anyone knows who wants to go a mile and a half. In the mile race, we raced six or seven wide so we ran further than a mile."

Ten Flags, a daughter of Seattle Slew, was also entered in a preliminary allowance race on Friday, but Ward said "in all probability we'll run in the Coaching Club."

Jorge Chavez will ride Ten Flags, Ward said. John Velazquez, who rode Ten Flags in her maiden win, had already committed to ride Tweedside before Ward decided to run in the CCA Oaks.

Others expected to run include Starrer, Unbridled Lassie, Exogenous, Majority Whip, Tap Dance, and possibly Classy Place.

Tentative plans for Orseno stars

If he continues to train well, 2000 Preakness winner Red Bullet could return in the $100,000 Salvatore Mile at Monmouth Park on Aug. 5, trainer Joe Orseno said on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Orseno is pointing juvenile champion Macho Uno to the Grade 1 King's Bishop at Saratoga on Aug. 25, with a possible prep sometime in early August.

Red Bullet and Macho Uno both put in solid workouts on Tuesday, with Red Bullet going six furlongs in 1:13.54 and Macho Uno drilling five furlongs in 1:00.66 in company. It was the fifth workout for both colts since they rejoined Orseno's barn in mid-June.

Orseno said his midterm goal for Red Bullet is the $500,000 Woodward Stakes on Sept. 8 at Belmont. Red Bullet has not raced since July 2000, when he finished last in the Dwyer Stakes.

"I'd like to find a decent race before the Woodward for him," Orseno said. "Maybe I will have to run him a flat mile at Monmouth."

Spa simulcast schedule set

Recent legislation that lowers the takeout at New York Racing Association tracks beginning with the opening of Saratoga, also enables the NYRA to offer additional simulcast action during the Spa meet.

At Saratoga, the NYRA will also offer full-card wagering from Monmouth Park and, on most days, the first five races from Del Mar. On Mondays, when Monmouth is dark, Delaware will be offered. On Fridays, when first post at Del Mar is 7 p.m. Eastern, Saratoga will take the first eight races from Arlington Park.

Those who attend Aqueduct during the Saratoga meet will be able to wager on two out-of-state signals - usually Monmouth and Arlington - as well as Finger Lakes and select races from Del Mar. On Mondays, Aqueduct will take Calder and Delaware in addition to Finger Lakes and Saratoga. Admission to Aqueduct during the Spa meet is free.

Oh, those in-laws

If John Velazquez loses the riding title by one to Edgar Prado, he may have his father-in-law, trainer Leo O'Brien, to blame. O'Brien, who usually uses Velazquez, won Wednesday's seventh race when Prado guided Jeeves ($21.80) to victory.

The win gave Prado a 58-57 lead over Velazquez. Prado, however, lost a win when it was officially announced that Baltimore Gray was disqualified from first place in a May 25 race because the horse tested positive for a banned substance. Since Baltimore Gray was unplaced in that race, Prado is now back to 57 wins.

O'Brien said he originally named Norberto Arroyo Jr. to ride Jeeves with Prado as a backup. Arroyo took the call on Jaazim instead.

O'Brien, whose daughter, Leona, is married to Velazquez, said he was startled when he picked up the overnight "and saw Edgar was on him and Johnny wasn't in the race. It was a total screw-up. I should have called the racing office before they actually drew."

When asked how this would play at home, O'Brien said, "not good . . . Prado's our favorite today, though."

* After losing with the first 46 starters he sent out at this meet, Hall of Fame trainer Phil Johnson has won with three of his last five runners. He ended his long skid last Friday with Bay Dragon ($16.80) and swept a pair of races on Wednesday with Spectaculaireontap ($11.40) and Impeachable ($11.60).