04/29/2002 11:00PM

A B Noodle to make amends

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - There is room to debate whether or not A B Noodle is the best - or will be the best - 3-year-old filly in northern California.

But there is no denying that A B Noodle, who meets five rivals in a maiden one-mile turf race at Bay Meadows on Thursday, has made her mark in northern California racing as one of the strangest losers ever.

A B Noodle held an eight-length lead in the stretch in a maiden one-mile turf race on April 11. But because of confusion over a two-horse spill heading into the first turn, jockey Jason Lumpkins pulled her up, and Doc's Lil Angel kept running to the finish line and won.

Although it appeared that most of the other riders in the race other than Ron Warren Jr. on Doc's Lil Angel did not ride their mounts hard through the lane, the race was declared official and A B Noodle's sure victory became an exasperating defeat.

"Without a doubt, that's the strangest loss I ever suffered," trainer Chuck Jenda said.

Jenda does not blame Lumpkins for the defeat, and named him to ride the filly again Thursday.

"I think he did a wise thing," Jenda said. "He erred on the side of safety."

A B Noodle ran third, showing some speed, in her debut in a six-furlong sprint on the main track. The daughter of Alphabet Soup was brought back in a one-mile turf race.

She broke sharply and went to the lead immediately. She opened a three-length lead, running the opening quarter in 23 seconds, and was well clear of the spill going into the first turn.

Her time for the opening half was 46.40 as she built a 10-length lead. She still led by 10 after running six furlongs in 1:10.20. Lumpkins was not asking her to run as she opened the advantage. He said later one reason he pulled up so hard on her was that she was running so strong.

"It was a very powerful race," Jenda said, "but nobody challenged her."

Jenda isn't worried about someone else going out early with A B Noodle.

"She's tractable enough to rate," he said. "She will be forwardly placed, though."

Jenda doesn't think that being pulled up as she was in her last race will affect her in Thursday's race.

"She's training well and doing well," he said.

A B Noodle has worked twice since the strange race. She recorded a bullet 46.80 four-furlong work on April 20 and went six furlongs in 1:14.40 on April 26.

"We've worked her well past the finish line to the seven-eighths," Jenda said.

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