11/03/2005 12:00AM

Atlantic Frost slight edge among top 3


CHICAGO - A temporary disconnect late this week in Chicago: The calendar reads November, and the thermometer reads 70 degrees. It feels right that the Saturday feature at Hawthorne will be run on the grass course.

Surely with winter coming sometime, turf racing cannot be long for the circuit, but 10 fillies and mares were entered in the $40,000 Yo Tambien, a 1 1/16-mile grass race. It's a familiar bunch, too, horses that have faced each other time and time again in Chicago grass races the last couple seasons.

The best of them might be the trio of Atlantic Frost, Chic Dancer, and Tisket a Tasket, not necessarily in that order - but perhaps so.

is the pick despite a poor try here two starts ago in the Indian Maid Handicap, when she finished a distant fifth and barely picked up her feet. Built into the race, however, is an automatic excuse: Hawthorne called its grass course "good" that day, but the Indian Maid went in a pokey 1:48.60 for 1 1/16 miles, and chunks of sodden turf went flying up behind the horses' hooves. To be clear, the grass was wet, and Atlantic Frost appeared to struggle over it.

Not so in a fourth-level allowance race 3 1/2 weeks ago. Held up at the back of a short field that day, Atlantic Frost effortlessly blew past her opponents in the final furlong, breezing by Hug Me Hug Me and Samantha B., two return rivals in the Yo Tambien. Her trainer, Mickey Goldfine, has managed Atlantic Frost very well through the last two seasons, and at the end of her 4-year-old season, with a body still maturing, Atlantic Frost remains a filly with some upside.

and front-runner Samantha B. should inject adequate pace.

And pace is what the enigmatic Tisket a Tasket needs. When Tisket a Tasket went last-to-first with an eye-catching win to start her season, she looked like a graded stakes-type horse, but she has lost all four of her races since then, including a third-level allowance last out at Keeneland. But many horses don't take to the Keeneland turf, and Tisket a Tasket generally has met better horses than she faces Saturday. Late in the Chicago grass-racing season, she is a horse to watch late in the Yo Tambien.