08/26/2001 11:00PM

Clement's choice may hold the key

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Christophe Clement will have the luxury of choosing between two key contenders, Philantha and Picture Palace, in Wednesday's $44,000 feature, a preliminary allowance for fillies and mares at a mile and a sixteenth on the inner turf course at Saratoga.

Clement said he will run only one of his two fillies and will not decide which until assessing the past performances of the field.

Philantha figures to move forward off her U.S. debut when she finished a troubled fifth, beaten less than four lengths, going a mile here on July 28. A lightly raced 4-year-old, Philantha started just once at 2, winning her maiden at first asking in England, and once at 3, finishing fourth against listed allowance company in France.

"She didn't have much racing luck in her last start," Clement said. "So we'll just try again and hope she fares better."

Picture Palace encountered traffic problems when seventh under similar conditions on Aug. 9.

"Of the two, Picture Palace probably has the brighter future because she's only 3," said Clement. "She broke her maiden impressively but was the victim of a bad [post position] draw in her last."

Richard Migliore has been named to ride Philantha; Edgar Prado will be aboard Picture Palace if she starts.

Skatesheba, who also had a rough trip on Aug. 9, seeks to rebound with Jerry Bailey back aboard for hot trainer Bobby Frankel. Three-year-old Skatesheba began her career in France. She has failed to reproduce the form that saw her finish fourth and second against stakes company in her first two U.S. appearances.

Here she comes, Miss Indiana

The supporting feature for 2-year-old fillies racing under first level allowance conditions drew a field of only five, led by the undefeated Miss Indiana and the stakes tested Ghost Wrestling.

Miss Indiana won her maiden in her only start, at Keeneland April 11.

"She surprised us a little when she won, but she can run a bit," said jockey Don Meche, who was aboard Miss Indiana for her debut and will ride her again for trainer Steve Asmussen on Wednesday.

"She bucked her shins after that race, which is why she's been away," Meche said, "but she's trained pretty well since arriving here earlier this summer."

Ghost Wrestling was an impressive winner at first asking at Churchill Downs in May. She has been running in stakes company since, finishing second in the Fashion Stakes and third in Monmouth Park's Colleen in her most recent start.

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