07/13/2001 11:00PM

Distance suits The Seven Seas


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - A turf marathon specialist, The Seven Seas will be a short-priced favorite to defend her title in Monday's $100,000 Estrapade Stakes at Hollywood Park.

The closing day feature of the spring-summer meeting, the Estrapade is run over 1 1/2 miles on turf, a distance at which The Seven Seas excels. In her 11-race career, she has won five times, including all three of her races at 1 1/2 miles.

Trained by Bobby Frankel, The Seven Seas could be a key mount for jockey Alex Solis, who began Saturday's program with a one-race lead over Laffit Pincay Jr. in the jockey standings. Pincay rides the longshot Letter of Intent in the Estrapade.

Six were entered in the Estrapade, but only five are expected to start. Frankel said that Millie's Quest was entered as a backup in the event that The Seven Seas could not start.

A 5-year-old mare, The Seven Seas has made two starts at this meeting following a 10-month break due to a pelvis problem. In her first start back she was a heavy favorite in the restricted La Zanzara Stakes over 1 1/4 miles on turf, but was second to Jig after chasing a slow pace.

In an allowance race over 1 1/4 miles on turf June 3, the pace was quicker and The Seven Seas was sharper. She won by two lengths at 1-2, about the price she should be on Monday.

"She's a good filly," Frankel said. "She's got a great turn of foot when she goes far. She needs to be behind and make a run."

The Seven Seas should be at the back of the field early, chasing Nepenthe, the winner of an allowance race over 1 1/2 miles June 16, and Palace Royale, who won an allowance race over about

1 1/8 miles on turf at Bay Meadows on June 14.

Nepenthe, who is trained by Ron McAnally, is making her stakes debut. Palace Royale, second in minor stakes at 3 and 4 in Ireland, was fifth in the Reloy Handicap over 1 1/2 miles on turf at Santa Anita in January. Following that race, she was transferred from trainer Julio Canani to Jenine Sahadi.

Letter of Intent and Running Flame complete the likely starters. Running Flame was bred in India, where she was a multiple stakes winner. She has been overmatched in five starts in this country. Letter of Intent would be a surprise, because she has lost her last six starts.