08/07/2003 12:00AM

Bare Necessities here to get it done

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HENDERSON, Ky. - It's not the most conventional route, especially for a Southern California trainer looking to make a Breeders' Cup race that will be run in . . . Southern California.

But Wally Dollase will do whatever is necessary to wind up back home with Bare Necessities, who on Saturday will use the $200,000 Gardenia Handicap at Ellis Park as her penultimate prep for the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup Distaff.

"I've never been to Ellis Park, and I'm not able to come in Saturday, either," said Dollase. "But the filly is there with my daughter Aimee, and they're there to get some things done. We want to get a nice race under the filly so that we'll have just one more race before we take another shot at Azeri."

Bare Necessities, with Rene Douglas in from Chicago to ride, is the 119-pound highweight in the Grade 3 Gardenia, the lone graded race each season at Ellis. Although she has won six races and nearly $600,000, Bare Necessities earned her top Beyer Speed Figure (105) in her last race when she finished third, beaten just 2 1/2 lengths, to 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri in the June 21 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park.

"We all know how great Azeri is, but we'd love to be back here at Santa Anita when we're running for $2 million," said Dollase. "This is a nice filly we've got."

Ellis officials would like nothing more than to have a Gardenia graduate proceed to do well in a high-profile setting such as the Breeders' Cup. This is the 22nd running of the Gardenia, a 1 1/8-mile race that provides Ellis a rare glimpse of national exposure.

Bare Necessities, a gray 4-year-old by Silver Deputy, drew the outside post in a field of nine fillies and mares. Among her top challengers are Desert Gold, So Much More, and Florida invader Stormy Frolic.

The rest of the Gardenia field is Peaceful Place, Lakenheath, Lead Story, Achnasheen, and Reason to Talk.

The Gardenia, which was inaugurated in 1982 as the Stroh's Handicap, is the 10th of 11 races on a Saturday card that also includes two allowances (races 5 and 9) and consistently large fields. First post is 12:40 p.m. Central, with the Gardenia set for 5:26.

Television Games Network has designated the Gardenia as its "Spotlight Race" for Saturday.