05/03/2003 12:00AM

Citgo Turf Mile: Frankel, again


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Heat Haze conceded her field a couple of lengths leaving the starting gate for Saturday's $117,000 Citgo Distaff Turf Mile. But that only served to make things a bit more interesting before Heat Haze blew away the competition en route to a 1 1/2-length victory over Quick Tip and nine other fillies and mares in the Grade 3 event.

Heat Haze is owned by her breeder, Juddmonte Farms, and gave her trainer Bobby Frankel his second of three straight stakes victories on the Kentucky Derby undercard.

Heat Haze trailed for over a half-mile after hesitating at the break, swung outside to commence her rally around the second turn, and accelerated brilliantly once entering the stretch to run down Quick Tip and win going away. Quick Tip overtook the tiring pacesetter Presumed Innocent to gain command in early stretch. Sentimental Value rallied from far back to finish third, 1 1/4 lengths before the 2-1 favorite Dedication, who finished fourth.

Heat Haze ran one mile in 1:33.96 over a firm course under jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. and returned $6.80.

"I was sort of happy she broke slow because that way she was able to get back there and wasn't pulling," Frankel said. "Jose let her save ground early then come outside for the stretch run. She has a great turn of foot but is very rateable and that's the difference between a horse who can only go a mile and one who'll be able to get a mile and one-eighth."

Valdivia also said he was not concerned about the slow start.

"She kind of fell asleep and walked out of the gate but when I called on her she just exploded through the lane," Valdivia said.

Love Talkin was ordered scratched by the track veterinarian just prior to the start of the Citgo Mile. Love Talkin is trained by Michael Tomlinson, whose Sir Cherokee was scratched from the Kentucky Derby on Friday due to a fractured ankle.