10/05/2004 11:00PM

Eye-catching victory stamps Light Jig as early favorite


Light Jig and Ouija Board emerged as the two likely favorites for the Filly and Mare Turf following last weekend's four major prep races in the U.S. and France.

Light Jig became the top American hopeful following her four-length victory in the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon Handicap at Santa Anita. The following afternoon, Ouija Board was nearly as impressive in defeat, rallying from the rear of the pack to finish a fast-closing third against males in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp.

Light Jig's tour de force in the Yellow Ribbon more than made up for her sixth-place finish earlier this summer in the John Mabee Handicap. Her winning margin was the widest in the 27-year history of the Yellow Ribbon.

Trainer Bobby Frankel said he was pleased by Light Jig's performance, but was quick to put the effort in its proper prospective.

"She ran well, but let's call a spade a spade," said Frankel. "That wasn't a very tough race, and those horses were not like the horses she'll meet in the Breeders' Cup."

Frankel said Light Jig will definitely be headed to Lone Star, where she could be joined by a Juddmonte Farms stablemate, Nebraska Tornado, in the Filly and Mare Turf.

Ouija Board rallied from the rear of a 19-horse field to finish 1 1/2 lengths behind Bago in the prestigious Arc. The outing was the first for Ouija Board, a 3-year-old filly, since she won the Irish Oaks nearly three months earlier.

Peter Shoemark, racing manager for trainer Ed Dunlop, said Ouija Board returned home in good order, but her status for the Filly and Mare Turf is up in the air.

"She came out of the race very well, and we were all delighted by her performance in the Arc," said Shoemark. "Naturally off that race we are tempted to come for the Breeders' Cup, although we'll see how the next 10 days go before making a final decision."

Riskaverse won last weekend's other major U.S. prep for the Filly and Mare Turf, beating Commercante by three-quarters of a length in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Handicap over a yielding course at Belmont.

Trainer, Pat Kelly said he will reserve any decision on Riskaverse's status for the Breeders' Cup until next week.

Film Maker and Wonder Again, fourth and sixth in the Flower Bowl, will both be pointed for the Filly and Mare Turf. Frankel said Commercante is not likely to head to Dallas.

Trainer James Toner said Wonder Again "has some unfinished business" to attend to following her disappointing effort as the 4-5 favorite in the Flower Bowl.

Grey Lilas and Yesterday, second and fourth in Sunday's Prix de l'Opera at Longchamp, also remain under consideration for the Filly and Mare Turf.

The final major prep for the Filly and Mare Turf will take place Sunday at Keeneland, where Dimitrova tops a large field expected for the Grade 2 WinStar Galaxy Stakes.

Filly & Mare Turf Contenders
3-year-olds & up, fillies & mares, 1 3/8 miles (turf). Purse: $1 million.

1Ouija BoardE. Dunlop7-2
English and Irish Oaks winner was an excellent third in the Arc
2Vallee EnchanteeE. Lellouche8-1
Beaten 2 1/2 lengths by top one in Arc; may go to Hong Kong instead
3Crimson PalaceS. bin Suroor6-1
This is coming up tougher than her Beverly D.; is a 20% supplement
4Light JigR. Frankel6-1
Overwhelming winner of the Yellow Ribbon wouldn't be a big surprise
5Grey LilasA. Fabre10-1
If she comes - and it's still iffy - it would be for this, and not the Mile
6Nebraska TornadoA. Fabre12-1
Still a disappointment this year, but she may want this longer distance
7RiskaverseP. Kelly2-1
No cinch to start even after running a good one in the Flower Bowl
8Wonder AgainJ. Toner12-1
Her fade in the Flower Bowl on her home court was not encouraging
9Moscow BurningJ. Cassidy15-1
Has yet to beat the best in her division, but has been very close
10DimitrovaN. Drysdale15-1
Will clarify her status after Sunday's WinStar Galaxy at Keeneland

- The top 10 contenders for each of the eight Breeders' Cup races are ranked by Mike Watchmaker, who set the odds and wrote the comments. Actual Breeders' Cup fields will have up to 14 starters.