08/21/2003 11:00PM

Don't forget about other Frankel


PHOENIX - Sunday's Grade 1 Pacific Classic may be coming up short in quantity, but it's long in quality. The Bobby Frankel-trained Medaglia d'Oro, perhaps the top older horse in the country, and Candy Ride, the unbeaten Argentine sensation who has dazzled in his only two U.S. starts, are the headliners. And, Fleetstreet Dancer, game and tough as he is, just appears in too deep in this 10-furlong race.

Then there's the other Frankel, Milwaukee Brew.

Milwaukee Brew won the Santa Anita Handicap for fun in March. He didn't race again but returned with a laughingly easy allowance win at Monmouth on the Haskell undercard.

Milwaukee Brew has always had ability. Owned by Frank Stronach, he rubbed elbows with some of the big boys as a 3-year-old under the care of Tino Attard. He won the 2000 Ohio Derby and was third, beaten less than a length, in the Haskell. He came back in 2001 at 4, under the care of Joe Orseno, but he started only four times and failed to win. He was switched to Frankel's care, given plenty of time off, and returned in 2002 seemingly none the better. He was a no-factor sixth in his comeback in the Whirlaway Handicap at Fair Grounds.

Then he won the Santa Anita Handicap and the Grade 2 Californian before running third in the Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup and the Pacific Classic. His year ended with a third in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

He came back this year even better. He was second to Congaree in the Grade 2 San Antonio, then turned the tables on that foe in the Santa Anita Handicap.

Now, with that Monmouth allowance win under his belt (Beyer of 104), Milwaukee Brew looks like he's ready to move forward. Medaglia d'Oro and Candy Ride are huge obstacles, but on his best day Milwaukee Brew has shown he can beat any horse.

And, as good as Medaglia d'Oro is, it seems many of his wins have come when he was able to control the pace. That may not happen here, as Candy Ride has plenty of speed himself. Candy Ride looks even better now that the horse he whipped last time, Special Ring, came back to romp in the Grade 1 Eddie Read. But he still has to tangle with Medaglia d'Oro, and it's uncertain if he can handle 10 furlongs.

Medaglia d'Oro figures around 1-1, while Candy Ride may be around 8-5. That should leave Milwaukee Brew at 3-1 or 7-2. By my math, that makes him the play.

Fast pace favors Gondolieri

The Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs takes place Sunday, and as usual some heavy hitters from Southern California are heading to the Northwest to take a shot at the $250,000 purse.

The leader is Sky Jack, the 2002 Hollywood Gold Cup winner, who has returned from serious injury and seemingly as good as ever. He's no doubt the one to beat, but Sky Jack's main weapon is speed, and the same can be said for any number of other entrants. Other front-runners include fellow Southern California shippers Nose the Trade and Total Limit, 2002 Mile winner Sabertooth, 2002 Emerald horse of the meet Flying Notes, and Handy N Bold.

This looks like a race that has to be won from off the pace, and Southern California shipper Gondolieri fits that bill.

A Chilean import trained by Ron McAnally, Gondolieri has yet to run a poor race in five U.S. starts. He comes off a super try in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar. He was unable to get to longshot winner Taste of Paradise, but Gondolieri had more than his share of trouble and may well have been best. Gondolieri was well back, moved up on the inside, but ran into a wall turning for home and had to steady. By the time he got going again, the cause was lost.

Still, it was an impressive performance (101 Beyer) and he has run well before. He earned a 102 Beyer when fourth in the Californian and a 108 Beyer when winning the Grade 3 Inglewood.

He should get his pace on Sunday, the mile distance seems ideal, and the price, around 9-2, should be more than square. Now all he needs is clear sailing for that big late run.