10/04/2004 11:00PM

Champali-Clock Stopper rematch in Phoenix

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Sense of Style: She'll be favored.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - One of the largest fields in years for the Phoenix Breeders' Cup Stakes is taking shape for opening day at Keeneland. Seven graded stakes will be run on a blockbuster opening weekend of the 17-day fall meet.

With Bobby Frankel declining to send Midas Eyes, who surely would have been favored, more than a few trainers have expressed interest in the Grade 3, $250,000 Phoenix. Among the probable starters in the Phoenix, which along with the Darley Alcibiades Stakes will anchor a nine-race Friday opener, are , who finished one-two in the $500,000 Smile Sprint at Calder in July.

Rafael Bejarano has the call on Champali, while Pat Day will ride Clock Stopper in the six-furlong Phoenix. Bejarano and Day are expected to contend for the riding title at the meet.

Others likely for the Phoenix are Arbitrate, Canadian Frontier, Coach Jimi Lee, Deer Lake, Eavesdropper, Gold Storm, Hosco, Private Horde, Super Fuse, and Wildcat Heir.

The $400,000 Alcibiades, a Grade 2 race for 2-year-old fillies, has the unbeaten Sense of Style as a solid favorite. Edgar Prado, who has been aboard Sense of Style in all three of her wins and who has enjoyed phenomenal success in Keeneland stakes in recent years, is scheduled to ride again.

Miss Matched and Punch Appeal look like the main challengers in the 1 1/16-mile Alcibiades, which also is expected to get Classic Elegance, Dance Away Capote, In the Gold, Sharp Lisa, Shebelongstoyou, Sweet Talker, and maybe a couple more.

In the other upcoming major races:

* Nothing to Lose, with Robby Albarado to ride, is the probable favorite in a prospective field of eight or nine older turf horses for the richest race of the meet, the Grade 1, $600,000 Shadwell Turf Mile on Saturday.

Perfect Soul, the 2003 Shadwell Mile winner, was scheduled to arrive Wednesday from Canada to defend his championship. Honor in War, the 2003 runner-up, also will run.

Other probables include Ay Caramba, King of Happiness, Silver Tree, Surging River, and Sweet Return.

* A rematch from what may turn out to be a surprise key race in the 2-year-old division - the Cradle Stakes at River Downs - is a major element to the Grade 1, $500,000 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity on Saturday.

Bellamy Road, Diamond Isle, and Scipion, the respective one-two-three finishers in the Sept. 6 Cradle, are the nucleus of yet another big field. Other probables for the 1 1/16-mile race are Consolidator, Copy My Notes, Evil Minister, Magna Graduate, Patriot Act, Pop the Question, and Straight Line.

* The Grade 3, $150,000 Sycamore, to be run Saturday, may be the only graded event of the weekend that will not produce a starter for the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup. Likely starters in the 1 1/2-mile turf race include Denon, Rochester, and Mustanfar.

* Azeri probably will be the heaviest favorite in all the weekend stakes when Day climbs aboard her Sunday for the Grade 1, $500,000 Overbrook Spinster. Azeri, the 2002 Horse of the Year, will be making what figures to be the penultimate start of her fabulous career, facing a handful of filly-mare rivals in the 1 1/8-mile Spinster.

House of Fortune, with Gary Stevens riding for trainer Ron McAnally, is the probable second choice. Also likely are Angela's Love, La Reason, Mayo on the Side, One for Rose, and Tamweel.

* Another sizable field is taking shape for the other Sunday feature, the Grade 2, $500,000 WinStar Galaxy, for fillies and mares at 1 3/16 miles on turf. Probable starters are Alchemist, Bedanken, Dimitrova, Jacira, Shaconage, Spice Island, Stay Forever, and Super Brand.