10/22/2002 11:00PM

BC Countdown - Juvenile Fillies: Baffert enters three against Storm Flag Flying


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Bob Baffert glanced down at the entries for Saturday's $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, and spotted the name Storm Flag Flying in post 4.

"Damn, she showed up," said Baffert, who entered three of the 10 fillies against Storm Flag Flying in the race. "I was hoping she wouldn't show up."

Actually, Storm Flag Flying was not scheduled to show up in Chicago until late Thursday morning. But she will show up. Storm Flag Flying, undefeated in three starts including the Grade 1 Matron and Grade 1 Frizette, was installed as the even-money favorite in the Juvenile Fillies by Daily Racing Form handicapper Mike Watchmaker.

Her trainer, Shug McGaughey, wasn't fretting about the post draw back in New York, but said he was happy with the 4-hole.

"That's fine with me," McGaughey said. "Of course, I'd rather not get the outside. We were on the inside in the Matron and we were fine."

Perhaps McGaughey's only worry is how Storm Flag Flying will act before the race. Storm Flag Flying has a tendency to be hot-blooded, and will face new surroundings at Arlington. She froze a couple of times in the paddock at Saratoga, but acted fine at Belmont, where there was considerably less commotion.

Storm Flag Flying will be trying to become a third generation Breeders' Cup winner. She is the daughter of 1995 Juvenile Fillies winner My Flag and the granddaughter of 1988 Distaff winner Personal Ensign.

Baffert will send out Santa Catarina, Composure, and Atlantic Ocean against Storm Flag Flying in the 1 1/8-mile race. The three fillies arrived Wednesday morning from California along with Baffert's trio of juvenile colts and Classic contender War Emblem.

Of the three fillies, only Santa Catarina may have been compromised at the draw by getting assigned post 1. Baffert was hoping jockey Jerry Bailey could get Santa Catarina to come from off the pace. She may be forced to use her speed breaking from the rail.

"That's Jerry's problem," Baffert said.

Santa Catarina raced on the lead in the Frizette, where she led until upper stretch before Storm Flag Flying drove past her en route to a two-length win.

"You're going to see a big improvement in her," said Baffert, who believes the two turns of the Juvenile Fillies will be better for Santa Catarina than the one-turn Frizette.

The "now" horse in the Baffert barn is Composure, who romped to a three-length victory in the Grade 2 Oak Leaf at Santa Anita. It was her second straight win around two turns.

"She's still green," Baffert said. "I'd like to see her up in the race, a little closer than she was the last time."

Oak Leaf runner-up Buffythecenterfold, who drew post 8, arrived here Tuesday and made her first visit to Arlington's main track by jogging a mile.

"It's a little different temperature for her, but she seems to be handling it fine," said trainer Mel Stute, who has returned to the Breeders' Cup for the first time since 1988. "She cleaned up her dinner last night, and she jogged today. The post position is fine. I'm in a spot where I don't have to go [to the front]. I can do whatever I want to do. I see her laying second or third."