09/21/2006 12:00AM

Bright Abundance consistently close


ELMONT, N.Y. - Bright Abundance is winless in five starts since upsetting last year's Noble Damsel Handicap here at odds of 6-1. She could just as easily be bringing a three-race winning streak into Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Noble Damsel, scheduled for one mile over Belmont Park's Widener turf course.

Bright Abundance has finished second in her last three races, by a combined margin of just 1 1/4 lengths. Among the horses she has lost to were graded stakes winners Asi Siempre, who beat Bright Abundance by a neck in the De La Rose at Saratoga, and Melhor Ainda, who beat Bright Abundance by one length in the Capades at Belmont.

"She's a very consistent filly," trainer Christophe Clement said of Bright Abundance. "You always have the feeling she ran very well but was just second best."

Pommes Frites, who has won 4 of 5 starts this year, and Karen's Caper, beaten a nose in Grade 1 races in the U.S. and Europe, provide the major competition for Bright Abundance, who has 3 wins and 2 seconds from 5 starts at Belmont.

"She runs well here because she loves the one-turn mile," Clement said. "She needs a minimum of pace, and usually you get it going a flat mile."

Pommes Frites, trained by Bill Mott, will likely set the pace under Jose Santos. Pommes Frites won the Grade 3 Beaugay at Aqueduct in April and the Dr. John Penny Memorial Handicap at Philadelphia Park in July. In between, she was run down by Gorella in the Grade 2 Just a Game on Belmont Stakes Day.

Though Pommes Frites has not raced since July 1, Mott said there was nothing amiss. He said he felt it was a good time to give her a freshening and thought the Noble Damsel the ideal race for her return.

"She runs well fresh," Mott said. "Her works have been good; she looks great. So far, so good."

Karen's Caper makes her third start for Bobby Frankel. She lost a shoe when a wide fourth in an allowance race and ran out of ground when trying to run down a loose-on-the-lead My Typhoon in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa.

Safari Queen finished second to Pommes Frites in February, which was her U.S. debut and first start in eight months. She has won two of her last three starts - both with blinkers added - and figures to be the one pressing Pommes Frites early.

Sabellina, Prop Me Up, and Mauralakana complete the field.