06/17/2004 11:00PM

Ashado gets ready for Mother Goose


ELMONT, N.Y. - While the best 3-year-old colt takes a breather, North America's top 3-year-old filly is getting ready to return to action.

Ashado, the Kentucky Oaks winner, heads a field of six expected for the Grade 1, $300,000 Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park on June 26. Ashado, trained by Todd Pletcher, was forced to miss the Grade 1 Acorn earlier this month when she developed a fever.

But while in the barn, Ashado's Kentucky Oaks victory took on added stature as three horses she defeated in that race came back to win graded stakes. Island Sand, second in the Oaks, won the Grade 1 Acorn; Stellar Jayne, sixth in the Oaks, won the Grade 3 Dogwood Breeders' Cup; and House of Fortune, eighth in the Oaks, won the Grade 2 Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks.

Ashado missed a few days of training due to her illness, but has worked steadily since May 23. Last Sunday, Ashado breezed six furlongs in 1:14 at Belmont, and was scheduled to have her final breeze this Sunday for next weekend's race.

Island Sand is expected to head the list of challengers for Ashado. Island Sand gave trainer Larry Jones his first Grade 1 win when she took the Acorn on June 4. She returned to Ellis Park following that race and is expected to ship to New York on Tuesday. Terry Thompson will return for the ride.

Another expected entrant is Stellar Jayne, who arrived in New York on Thursday with stablemate Azeri. Stellar Jayne is coming off the best performance of her career, when she won the Dogwood by 3 1/4 lengths.

"That was her best race to date in my opinion," trainer D. Wayne Lukas said. "She stayed closer to the pace, she ran better, she finished stronger - just a better deal all the way around."

Others pointing to the race include Daydreaming, Miss Coronado, and Society Selection.

Dream Time just like her sister

Dream Time, a full sister to the Grade 1-winning Finder's Fee, made an auspicious debut Thursday, taking a five-furlong maiden race by one length over a stubborn Darn That Girl. Finder's Fee also won her debut in 1999.

Dream Time and Darn That Girl dueled throughout, with Dream Time edging away late under Jerry Bailey in what could be a key race. Dream Time, a daughter of Storm Cat, ran five furlongs in 58.48 seconds and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 91. Trainer Shug McGaughey said he would point Dream Time to the Grade 2, $150,000 Schuylerville on July 28, opening day at Saratoga.

"I was pleased with her," McGaughey said. "I was surprised she showed that much speed. I thought she'd spot them a little bit and come and get them. That's probably what she's going to do as time goes on."

Exercise rider Donna McMullen said Dream Time is very similar to Finder's Fee, whom she also galloped.

"Same habits," McMullen said. "She'd scoot off with you in the morning, and Finder's Fee would do that. She sticks her tongue out just like her sister did. They're exactly alike."

McGaughey hopes they're not that similar at Saratoga. Finder's Fee finished fourth in the Schuylerville.

Potra Fabulous may try New York Handicap

Not that he needs one, but trainer Bobby Frankel may have himself another stakes-caliber turf mare.

Potra Fabulous, a Group 1 winner in Argentina, rallied to win a classified allowance race Thursday by a neck over Alchemist. It was her first win from five starts in this country. She is now 2 for 2 in her career at 1 1/4 miles. Frankel is now considering running Potra Fabulous back in the Grade 2, $250,000 New York Handicap here on July 5.

Frankel was originally planning to run Commercante in the New York Handicap, but that filly was injured in a stall accident. Commercante, in her first start in this country, won an allowance race by 11 1/4 lengths on May 29. According to Frankel, Commercante ran into a screw in her stall after getting spooked by a rooster.

"We had to put 20 stitches in her shoulder," said Frankel, who said he hopes to get Commercante ready for the Beverly D. in August at Arlington.

Longshot disqualified in maiden race

Philadelphia Park-based trainer Robert Helmetag won't be in a rush to return to New York anytime soon. Helmetag shipped in first time-starter Schiloh, a New York-bred who finished first in an open maiden race at 48-1, beating Maryland shipper Tip City by a head.

Mike Luzzi, the jockey of Tip City, claimed foul against Schiloh and apprentice jockey Fernando Jara, alleging interference in the stretch. While the two horses did bump, it appeared that Tip City came out under Luzzi's left-handed whip just as much, if not more, as Schiloh came in.

The stewards did not see it that way, and disqualified Schiloh from first.

"[Schiloh] comes in more than the other horse comes out," said NYRA steward David Hicks.

Carmine Donofrio, the racing board steward, said that Jara made no attempt to take his mount off Tip City.

Helmetag, who rarely runs a horse in New York, said he was stunned by the disqualification.

"I was very stunned because the other horse made the first infraction - the other horse hit me first," Helmetag said. "I had no choice to lean on the horse once that happened. . . . I thought it was very unjust. My phone's been ringing off the hook; other trainers telling me they're stunned that he got taken down. Sometimes you eat the bear, other times the bear eats you."