09/18/2001 11:00PM

Distance no problem for Ms. Brookski


MIAMI - For the majority of the horses in Saturday's $100,000 Brave Raj Stakes for juvenile fillies at Calder Racecourse, the question is whether or not they can stay the mile-and-70-yard distance in a race that for most will serve as a final prep for the $400,000 My Dear Girl Stakes on Oct. 13.

But the neither Phil Combest, the owner of Ms. Brookski, nor his father, trainer Reed Combest, have any doubts about their filly's ability to handle two turns. Not after Ms. Brookski, a daughter of Monbrook won her two-turn debut by 11 lengths on Sept. 1.

"She's put on 40 pounds over the past several weeks and is really striding out well right now," said Phil Combest, who assists his dad around the barn. "She couldn't have worked any better for the race, and I look for her to run real big on Saturday."

Ms. Brookski has sandwiched a pair of impressive victories around a disappointing performance in the six-furlong Desert Vixen Stakes, in which she broke poorly. She returned on Lasix and destroyed first-level allowance company going a mile. On Saturday, she will be facing a group that includes Bold World, trained by Ron Taylor, who scored an impressive victory in the seven-furlong Susan's Girl Stakes.

"I don't know exactly how she stacks up against some of the other horses in the Brave Raj or down the road for the My Dear Girl," Phil Combest said. "I know Ron's filly will be tough, and I guess [trainer John] Kimmel has a pretty good filly for the My Dear Girl. But I really think our horse wants to go a distance of ground and should run well in both races."

Bold World will likely be the slight favorite in the Brave Raj. She will have a new jockey on Saturday, with Eduardo Nunez replacing regular rider Calvin Borel, although Borel still has the call for the My Dear Girl.