10/18/2006 12:00AM

Field may lack winners of three major preps


There were three potentially major prep races last weekend for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, but the winner in each of them may not show up for the Filly and Mare Turf.

All but certain to pass the Breeders' Cup is Pride, the star French-based mare who just missed winning the Prix de l'Arc d'Triomphe early this month and overpowered her opposition Saturday in the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Newmarket in England. But after toying with a Breeders' Cup try on Sunday and Monday, her connections decided to pass on a trip to the States. The connections of Ouija Board, on the other hand, passed on the Champion Stakes, electing to send Ouija Board straight into her third Filly and Mare Turf after a two-month break between starts.

At Keeneland, Gorella won the First Lady Stakes on Saturday, followed by a victory an hour later by Vacare in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup. Gorella is more likely for the Breeders' Cup Mile than the Filly and Mare Turf, trainer Patrick Biancone said Tuesday; plans are up in the air for Vacare.

Biancone said Gorella would be cross-entered in the two BC races, terming her 80-percent certain to start in the Mile, while declining to actually tip his hand.

"Why decide today when I can decide in two weeks?" he said.

If Gorella goes in the Mile, Biancone won't have a Filly and Mare Turf starter: Mauralakana, second in the QE II, will pass the Breeders' Cup, as will Lady of Venice.

As for Vacare, unbeaten after four races, she has returned to trainer Chris Block's Hawthorne base and was scheduled to return to training Thursday. Vacare came out of the QE II in good physical condition, but her Filly and Mare Turf status has yet to be solidified.

The third- and fourth-place QE II finishers, Quiet Royal and Germance, are likely to go on to the Filly and Mare Turf, giving the race seven fairly solid starters as of this week. Quiet Royal, who made her U.S. debut Saturday, has been turned over to Todd Pletcher, who figures to have three starters in the race. While Pletcher said Magnificent Song, sixth in the QE II, won't make the Filly and Mare Turf, he has two of the favorites in Wait a While and Honey Ryder.

Besides Ouija Board, there is one other European shipper considered probable for the Filly and Mare turf, Satwa Queen, who was second last out in the Prix de l'Opera on the Arc undercard. The other probable U.S.-based horse is Film Maker, narrowly beaten in the Flower Bowl by Honey Ryder.

The Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes on Sunday at Woodbine comes less than two weeks before the Breeders' Cup, and so is unlikely to produce a Filly and Mare Turf starter. Scheduled to go in the E.P. Taylor, according to trainer Bill Mott, is Angara, who had been considered possible for the Filly and Mare Turf. Mott also said he would discuss with owner Charlotte Weber the possibility of sending My Typhoon, third in the First Lady, to the Breeders' Cup.