05/24/2004 11:00PM

Art Fan all-around good fit


ELMONT, N.Y. - There's a stakes race at Belmont Park on Thursday, and a certain 3-year-old who ran very well at Pimlico earlier this month looks like a solid contender.

No, not that one.

This one is Art Fan, a Maryland-based filly who will ship in for the $60,000 Terpsichorist, a restricted event for 3-year-old fillies who have never won a stakes.

Scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the Widener turf course, the Terpsichorist drew 13 entrants, including three also-eligibles.

is among three who have already won on the Widener course. As a 2-year-old last fall, she shipped in to take a first-level allowance from off the pace despite a four-wide trip. A few weeks later, Art Fan tried Belmont's inner turf course and finished fourth in the Miss Grillo Stakes behind Please Take Me Out, a recent allowance winner here, and subsequent stakes winners Bobbie Use and Lucifers Stone.

After a six-month break Art Fan returned in a five-furlong optional claiming sprint at Pimlico on April 23, and raced wide while making up ground late. Trainer Hamilton Smith then stretched out Art Fan in the Hilltop Stakes two weeks later, and the result was a fine second-place finish behind even-money favorite Western Ransom, who was coming off a photo-finish loss in Keeneland's Appalachian Stakes.

Art Fan breaks from the rail, and her main challenge may come from Savage Beauty, a lightly raced filly who drew post 10.

finished a distant fourth in her career debut on dirt, but switched to the turf at Gulfstream Park a month later and passed four rivals through the final furlong to win a maiden race by a neck at 14-1. She returned on opening day of Belmont's spring meet and improved again, posting a front-running victory at 6-1 in a first-level allowance on yielding turf.

The two other grass winners are Really American, who was 59-1 when she upset maidens at a mile on the Widener last fall, and longshot Take Me There, who won on turf and dirt at Calder, Gulfstream, and Tampa Bay Downs at the turn of the year.

A Lulu Ofa Menifee, who drew post 7, has not been on turf since running second in a maiden race at Fair Grounds last December. Since then, however, she has won 2 of 5 starts on dirt, and was third most recently in the Nassau County Breeders' Cup on the main track here. She appears primed for a good effort after a bullet half-mile work on the inner turf course last Sunday.