10/25/2001 11:00PM

Estrapade likely to stay on turf; Ioya Two likely to run


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Rain has cost Ioya Two dearly at the Arlington meet, but Saturday it's snow she might have to contend with. Winter blew into Chicago this week, just in time for Arlington's final weekend. Cold weather is expected to continue through Sunday, and for Ioya Two and her connections that means the chance of the Estrapade Handicap being rained off turf has diminished. But don't underestimate the strength of Ioya Two's connection to the rain gods - when she enters, things get wet.

So wet that four times in the last three months she has been entered in a grass race, only to scratch when the race was taken off turf. Earlier this month, trainer Chris Block entered her on consecutive programs, only to see turf racing canceled both days. Fortunately for Block and Team Block, the family ownership group that includes Block, his parents, and his siblings, Ioya Two already scored her major win of the year. In July, she won the Grade 3 Modesty Handicap here, a win that significantly boosted her residual value as a broodmare.

Block said he and his family are leaning toward another year of racing for Ioya Two, a lightly raced

6-year-old. First she actually needs a chance to compete. In the Estrapade she is not the starting highweight - at 119 pounds, Histoire Sainte gives her a pound - but given a home-track advantage and a win over Histoire Sainte in the Modesty she probably will be the favorite.

Ioya Two showed her amazing versatility and class in her lone start since the Modesty, a five-furlong allowance race that she won with a powerful stretch kick. In the Estrapade she returns to a much more suitable distance, about 1 1/16 miles, and is well drawn to use her speed in post 1. Leading rider Rene Douglas has a call.

Histoire Sainte, owned by Gary Tanaka and trained by Steve Asmussen, must tote top weight because she finished a close fourth behind the Grade 1 class Tranquility Lake in the Sept. 1 Palomar Handicap at Del Mar. Strangely, Histoire Sainte's two wins since being imported from Europe both came in the Sixty Sails Handicap at Fair Grounds.

The pace in the Estrapade comes from Please Sign In and the New York Invader Song for Annie. Song for Annie, trained by Bill Mott, won two stakes last winter but has not been in form since March.

- Marcus Hersh

Bay Meadows: Wide-open Pacifica

A field of six older handicap performers will line up for Sunday's $50,000-added Pacifica Handicap. The 1 1/16-mile turf race, named for the scenic coastal town on the peninsula, should be a wide-open contest, with just three pounds separating the six contestants

Night Patrol is the starting topweight under 117 pounds, but the selection here is Most Likely. Most Likely has experience over the Longden turf course and that should benefit him Sunday.

Most Likely, trained by Patrick Gallagher, comes into Sunday's feature off a strong performance in the Grade 3 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Handicap. He set the pace in that nine-furlong race to deep stretch and was beaten only a length by Super Quercus for all the money.

Most Likely is winless so far this season in eight trips to the post but has four seconds to his credit and should find Sunday's opposition much easier than he last faced here.

Night Patrol is shipping cross-country for Sunday's headliner. In his last race, he was fifth, beaten three lengths, in the Grade 3 Cliffhanger Handicap at The Meadowlands. Night Patrol has raced in graded company in his last five starts and also should find Sunday's opponents less formidable.

Earlier this season Night Patrol finished a strong second to Lazy Lode in the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap at Santa Anita. He has six victories in his career and over $285,000 in earnings.

The other four in the Pacifica were assigned 114 pounds and are all capable of an upset Sunday. Storm Signal comes off a game win over the local turf course for trainer Simon Bray and has three wins on the year. Kitty's Link hasn't won since 1999 but has been close up with four seconds in the last two seasons.

Meet Me in Dixie and Profound Secret also have chances off their best races. Meet Me in Dixie has a pair of victories in Southern California this season in allowance company. Profound Secret has made only two starts thus far this season but has a big win in the Harvest Handicap at the Big Fresno Fair to his credit.