12/11/2003 12:00AM

Chatter Chatter looming large


MIAMI - There could be several vulnerable favorites in Saturday's all stakes Grand Slam pick four at Calder, but it is unlikely one of them will be Chatter Chatter, who should continue her winning ways in the $100,000 Three Ring Stakes.

The 1 1/16-mile Three Ring for 2-year-old fillies is the last of the four $100,000 stakes to be decided on Saturday's program. The pick four begins with the What a Pleasure and also includes the seven-furlong Chaposa Springs and Kenny Noe Jr. handicaps.

Chatter Chatter has won her last three starts, including the My Dear Girl division of the Florida Stallion Stakes by 19 1/2 lengths on Oct. 11. That victory followed on the heels of an equally sensational 23 1/4-length maiden win in her two-turn debut just three weeks earlier.

Trainer Marty Wolfson turned Chatter Chatter back to seven furlongs for the Jack O'Farrell Juvenile Fillies for her most recent start. While she did prevail by a comfortable two lengths over Usual Manner as the 1-9 favorite, Chatter Chatter gave a performance that was considered somewhat disappointing in light of the fact she drifted through the stretch, completing the final furlong in a pedestrian 14 seconds.

"She's just not as comfortable sprinting as she is going two turns," said Wolfson. "She seems to get confused and doesn't relax as well as when she goes a distance of ground. She did the same thing when she lost the Susan's Girl earlier this year."

About the only problem Chatter Chatter may face in the Three Ring is the prospect of an early pace battle with Usual Manner, whom she surprisingly outran to the lead in the O'Farrell. Usual Manner has drawn the rail on Saturday and will break directly inside Chatter Chatter, who starts in post position 2 under jockey Jerry Bailey.

Usual Manner had never been headed on the lead before the O'Farrell but was taken back off Chatter Chatter by jockey Manoel Cruz and held on for second. She will attempt to go two turns for the first time in the Three Ring.

Marina de Chavon may have the most realistic chance of upsetting Chatter Chatter should the favorite not be at her best. A daughter of Exploit, Marina de Chavon won the Brave Raj Stakes via the disqualification of Ride Her Out on Sept. 20, then journeyed to Churchill Downs, where she finished a troubled fourth in the accident-marred Pocahontas Stakes. She will race in blinkers for the first time on Saturday.

Defending champion Chispiski will be the 122-pound highweight and likely favorite in the Grade 3 Chaposa Springs, having posted three stakes victories in her last four starts. Her lone defeat during that span, though, came in her only start at seven furlongs, when she was easily caught by Honeymooner, who is among the 12 fillies and mares entered in the Chaposa Springs.

Chispiski must also break from the difficult inside post coming out of the seven-furlong chute and could face an early pace challenge from Holy Bubbette, Keiai Sekura, or Wins Fair Lady.

A speed duel would enhance the chances of Belle Artiste, who chased Chispiski before settling for second in her local debut, the Cutlass Envoy Stakes.

"She came down here with the Chaposa Springs in mind," said George Weaver, who trains Belle Artiste for owner-breeder John H. Peace. "I ran her in that little overnight stakes because I thought a race over the track might benefit her."

Tour of the Cat figures to be a slight favorite over nine other sprint specialists in the contentious Kenny Noe.

Tour of the Cat, who finished second behind Built Up in last year's edition of the race, will turn back in distance after winning a pair of Grade 3 stakes and finishing second behind local division leader Best of the Rest in the 1 1/8-mile Carl G. Rose Classic on Nov. 15.

Tour of the Cat contracted a foot abscess since the Rose, and while the injury has healed he has missed important training time, with only one slow five-furlong work over the past four weeks.

Built Up is back to defend his title in the Kenny Noe, although he has been off his best form since winning the Groomstick Handicap on Aug. 16.

Love That Moon, on the other hand, has been unbeatable over the past several months, reeling off three straight stakes wins, including a three-quarter-length decision over Pickem and Sing Me Back Home in the Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap on Nov. 15.

Sing Me Back Home was used up in a suicidal pace battle in the Jack Dudley but could prove extremely dangerous if allowed to relax on an easy lead.

Former Canadian sprint champ Wake at Noon has shipped down for the race and should figure prominently throughout. He turns back in distance off a steady diet of two-turn outings at Woodbine.