10/15/2002 11:00PM

Biancone deals fresh hand


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - The fresh horse.

There was a time when almost every horse, pointing for a major stakes, had a prep race. Ben and Jimmy Jones of Calumet Farm ran all eight of their Kentucky Derby winners in the Derby Trial, which in those days was scheduled four days before the Derby.

The Thoroughbred of today isn't as sturdy as his ancestors, and horsemen have learned to adapt to the circumstances. A considerable number of starters in the Breeders' Cup will start on Oct. 26 without a race of any kind for six and even eight weeks.

Two of the fresh horses on hand at beautiful Arlington Park for the World Thoroughbred Championships are Zavata and Whywhywhy, a pair of stakes-winning 2-year-olds trained by Patrick Louis Biancone and pointing for the highly competitive Juvenile at 1 1/8 miles.

Zavata, who won the Tremont at Belmont Park and the Saratoga Special, made his last appearance on Aug. 31.

Whywhywhy, with Belmont victories in the Flash Stakes and Futurity and Saratoga's Sanford Stakes to his credit, hasn't seen action since Sept. 15.

"Their freshness should be a plus in the Breeders' Cup," Biancone said the other day. "They have been working well and showing enthusiasm for training. They have had enough racing racing experience so that their absence from competition should not be a problem.

"Zavata has started five times and Whywhywhy has had four starts. We had been planning to run Zavata in the Champagne, but he kicked the wall of his stall and there was some swelling in his left hind ankle. He missed only three days of training and I'm satisfied he is as good as ever."

Which of the two is the better colt? Biancone says he doesn't know, but the Juvenile should provide an answer. Both will be well equipped. Gary Stevens rides Zavata, and Pat Day has the mount on Whywhywhy. Between them they have won 18 Breeders' Cup races.

Biancone has come close. For the first Breeders' Cup in 1984 he saddled the wonderful French filly All Along to finish second by a neck to the Lashkari. In the second Breeders' Cup, Biancone was second, again by a neck, with Strawberry Road II to the victorious Pebbles.

The best 2-year-old he has trained to date was Sakura Reiko, who gave the brilliant Miesque the only defeat of her career in the Prix Morny. Sakura Reiko was champion 2-year-old filly in France.

The winner of the Juvenile is likely to be voted the divisional championship and that is all right with Biancone, who says he would not trade chances with any of his opponents.

"There are some who insist that the pedigrees of our colts put limitations on their ability to stay a distance," the trainer said, "and that this shortness of stamina is particularly meaningful this year, when the Juvenile will be run at nine furlongs.

"Both parents contribute to the makeup of horses, and so while Phone Trick, the sire of Zavata, is known for speed, the dam is by Cox's Ridge, who stayed. Whywhywhy is out of a mare by Quiet American, and that, too, represents stamina. Our colts have demonstrated ability and they are coming to the Breeders' Cup fresh and fit. If they have decent trips, they will give a good account."