10/20/2005 12:00AM

BC F&M Turf: Ouija Board has kept her hopes alive


For all the major prep races feeding the Breeders' Cup, one of the most obscure may wind up making one of the greatest impacts: the Sept. 24 Princess Royal John Doyle Stakes, a Group 3 race at Newmarket in England.

It was in that race that Ouija Board, the defending champion in the $1 million BC Filly and Mare Turf, turned her year from nowhere to anywhere by winning easily. The Newmarket race was just her second since her BC victory last year; the only race in the interim resulted in a miserable defeat of nearly 30 lengths.

"Her problems this year have been well documented," said Ed Dunlop, who trains Ouija Board for Lord Derby. "Whether she's the same filly as last year, we don't know, but the signs are good. Not many horses have a shot at winning two Breeders' Cups. We're in a very lucky position."

Without Ouija Board, favoritism would have been up for grabs in the 1 1/4-mile Filly and Mare, with perhaps Megahertz a very tenuous choice. But in the latest release from William Hill, the British bookmaking giant, Ouija Board is being quoted as the 3-2 favorite. She is the 5-2 favorite on Mike Watchmaker's Daily Racing Form line.

In other Filly and Mare news, trainer Ben Cecil flip-flopped on Flip Flop when he made her the 14th and last horse to enter the race on Monday. After Flip Flop ran second to Megahertz in the Yellow Ribbon, Cecil said he was content to point to the Las Palmas at the Oak Tree meet at Santa Anita, but owner Gary Tanaka said he wanted to give the Filly and Mare a try.

"I think she can improve off the Yellow Ribbon," Cecil said Thursday from California.

Garrett Gomez will have the mount for the first time.

From New York, trainer Bobby Frankel said Rafael Bejarano has picked up the mount on Intercontinental, the WinStar Galaxy winner who has fared best in races at or around one mile. Jerry Bailey has been the longtime regular rider for Intercontinental but picked up the mount earlier this week on Ouija Board.

In one other notable jockey assignment, agent Angel Cordero Jr. confirmed Thursday that John Velazquez will retain the mount on Wend for trainer Bill Mott. Velazquez rode Wend for the first time when the Claiborne Farm filly ran a fast-closing second to Intercontinental in the one-mile Galaxy.

From Kentucky, three horses are scheduled to ship to Belmont early next week: Wend from Churchill Downs, Karen's Caper from Keeneland, and Angara from Turfway Park.