06/02/2003 11:00PM

Bikini Wiggle in Fashion


ELMONT, N.Y. - Juvenile filly maiden winners from Kentucky, Maryland, Florida, New York, and Delaware will meet Thursday at Belmont Park in the $75,000 Fashion Stakes at five furlongs.

Bikini Wiggle, from the Maryland barn of trainer Tony Dutrow, and Renaissance Lady, from the Kentucky barn of D. Wayne Lukas, appear the ones to beat in this six-horse field.

Bikini Wiggle, a daughter of Salt Lake, shipped to New York April 30 and dominated a 4 1/2-furlong maiden race by 7 3/4 lengths while covering the distance in 52.01 seconds under jockey John Velazquez. The filly she beat, Rodeo Licious, came back to win her next start by almost five lengths and is entered back in the Fashion.

Dutrow said Bikini Wiggle could have started earlier for a richer purse at Keeneland, but he liked the five-week spacing between her debut and the Fashion.

"She was just one of those that was ready to run at Christmas time,'' Dutrow said. "You run into one of those every three or four years - real precocious, real smart, everything came easy. I got her in from Niall Brennan and I had her for a month and then I ran her. She was very impressive and she's trained just wonderfully for the Fashion.''

Velazquez, this meet's leading rider, will ride Bikini Wiggle from post 3.

Renaissance Lady, a daughter of A.P. Indy out of the stakes winning mare Storm Beauty, overcame a slow start to win a 4 1/2-furlong race at Keeneland April 23. In the race, Renaissance Lady got away from the gate last of 11, was about seven lengths off the early pace after the opening quarter-mile, and closed strongly under jockey Cornelio Velasquez to win.

"With her breeding, it was a shock to everybody she showed the speed she did,'' said Peter Hutton, the New York-based assistant for Lukas. "The only thing that concerns you is the horse she beat came back at Calder and got beat at 1-2. If you're going to beat a bad bunch you got to beat them convincingly and that's what she did.''

Renaissance Lady was shipped to Belmont shortly after her maiden win and has worked three times over the main track, including a four-furlong move in 47.40 seconds from the gate. Hutton said Renaissance Lady has been back to the gate a few more times after that work and has behaved well.

Jerry Bailey, who has won the last three runnings of this race, has the call from post 4.