06/10/2004 11:00PM

Bred by Phipps, and pointing for it


ELMONT, N.Y. - Storm Flag Flying, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2002, worked Friday morning at Belmont Park in preparation for her next start, the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap on June 19.

Clockers timed Storm Flag Flying for four furlongs in 48.42 seconds, the ninth-fastest move of 32 at a half-mile on Friday morning.

According to her trainer, Shug McGaughey, Storm Flag Flying worked five furlongs in 1:01.20, galloping out six furlongs in 1:14. The work will be her final timed move before the Phipps, a $300,000 race for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles.

"She's a pretty strong galloper in the mornings, so we don't need to do anything else with her," McGaughey said Friday at his barn at Belmont.

The race is named for Storm Flag Flying's late breeder.

The Phipps was previously named the Hempstead Handicap. But after the death of Ogden Phipps, one of the patriarchs of the turf, in April 2002 at age 93, the race was renamed in his honor. Phipps, whose breeding operation thrived because of well-bred mares, won the Hempstead twice, with the undefeated mare Personal Ensign in 1988 and Fantastic Find in 1990. His son, Ogden Mills "Dinny" Phipps, won the Hempstead in 1995 with Heavenly Prize, the 1994 3-year-old filly champion.

Storm Flag Flying, by Storm Cat out of My Flag, winner of the 1995 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, was bred by Phipps, but he did not live long enough to see her run. In her 2-year-old year, she was undefeated in four starts, including three Grade 1 wins. She is now owned by his son.

"Of course this would be special to win," said McGaughey. "It would be fun. [Ogden Phipps] was very partial to fillies, and he had a lot of good ones, and this race was named for him because of that. It'd be exciting to get this win for him."

Storm Flag Flying was a disappointment in her 3-year-old season but has rebounded this year, winning the Grade 2 Shuvee Handicap on May 15 in her last start. But in the Phipps, she will have her work cut out for her - the field is expected to include Azeri, the 2002 Horse of the Year; Sightseek, the winner of the Phipps last year; and Passing Shot, the winner of the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga in 2003.

At least 9 point for Mount Vernon

New York-bred turf fillies and mares are lining up for the Mount Vernon Stakes on June 20, with at least nine horses expected in the 1 1/8-mile inner turf race, according to Andrew Byrnes, stakes coordinator for the New York Racing Association.

The probables include Ma Femme, winner of the restricted Perfect Arc Stakes in November at Aqueduct. Since then, Ma Femme has had two starts, both in open company, with poor results, but a trip back to the statebred ranks may be the right medicine.

Trainer Dale Romans is expected to start On the Bus, a 4-year-old filly by Ghazi out of a Dynaformer mare, who most recently crushed nine opponents on May 20 at Belmont on yielding turf. On the Bus won that allowance race by 6 1/2 lengths under Jerry Bailey as the 2-5 favorite.

Also pointing to the Mount Vernon are Beautiful America, Bound on Bi, Brandala, Dynamic Lisa, Lady Libby, Perfect Energy, and Raffie's Dream. Trainer Leo O'Brien has nominated two horses to the stakes, and is expected to start at least one, Byrnes said.

"It's definitely going to be a big field, and we'll probably overfill it," Byrnes said.

Saratoga stall applications come in Mike Lakow, NYRA's racing secretary, said that Saratoga has received 3,300 stall applications for the 2004 meet, which begins on July 28. Lakow said he expects 4,000 applications to eventually make it to his office. There are 1,600 stall spaces at the upstate track.

"I'd say we're pretty close to what we had last year at this time," Lakow said. "For some reason we have a lot of maidens on the grounds right now, so I'm expecting to get some of those allowance and claiming horses from out of state. We've started off a little slow this year for some reason, but I see us picking up."

Chavez suspended for three days

Jockey Jorge Chavez was suspended on Friday for three days, Wednesday-Friday, for careless riding during the eighth race on Thursday at Belmont. Chavez was aboard Why You, who crossed the wire first but was disqualified to third in the four-horse field after forcing contact with Whoopi Cat going into the first turn. Whoopi Cat, in turn, collided with Distinctive Kitten.

Why You, a 3-year-old filly trained by Allen Jerkens, was the favorite in the six-furlong allowance race.

Schoolchildren tour backstretch

There were seemingly more children than horses on the backstretch of Belmont Park on Friday morning. About 500 students from two nearby schools were touring the grounds as part of a field trip.

According to Bruno Zalubil, a NYRA press office employee, the children were scheduled to take part in the tour before the Belmont Stakes, but had to cancel. As a result, the children got their field trip on Friday.

Events for the children included a tram tour of the backstretch, a demonstration on the basics of horsemanship - conducted with a real racehorse just off the grandstand - and a chance to break out of the starting gate. Jockeys Pedro Cotto Jr., Shannon Uske, and Raul Rojas handed out hats and visited with the children as well.