06/11/2003 12:00AM

Filly rivalry brewing in Oaks


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Saturday's $75,000-added Bay Meadows Oaks is Chapter Two of what could develop into an interesting rivalry between 3-year-old fillies Can I Call You Dad and Mac Melody.

But don't mention that to trainers Brent Sumja and Dean Pederson.

"If we both run some races against each other so be it," said Pederson, Mac Melody's trainer. "Rivalries are like the Yankees and Red Sox where they hate each other."

Said Sumja, who trains Can I Call You Dad:"I wouldn't call it a rivalry. This is where we are. Where else could we run her."

Can I Call You Dad won Round One, beating Mac Melody by one length in a $62,500 optional claimer at one mile on the turf on May 22.

Both are assigned 116 pounds in Saturday's 1 1/16-mile turf race, which should draw at least nine contenders.

Sumja likes his filly's chances. Can I Call You Dad has two straight turf wins.

"I was in awe in her last race when I saw what was happening," Sumja said. "So many were taking runs at her, and she kept repelling them. I was speechless. I couldn't believe what she did. That told me a lot about her."

Pederson is actually happy that there will be a bigger field than the five who ran on May 22.

"She's a trip horse," he said. "Being from overseas, she was taught to run covered up. In small fields, you're at a disadvantage because it's tough to cover them up.

"She has a good quarter-mile kick, and she moved too quick last time. She looked like a winner at the quarter pole, but Brent's filly kicked and ran away. We learned something that day. You have to cover her up and time her move right. If she gets the right trip, she'll run well."

Both fillies will get time off after the race, and both come off works that are faster than the trainers wanted.

"She breezed awfully good the other morning," said Pederson of Mac Melody's 58.20-second bullet five-furlong work on June 8. "I hope it wasn't too fast, and she's been doing good since."

Can I Call You Dad had a 1:17 six-furlong work on June 7.

"She puts a lot into her training," Sumja said.

* During the one-week overlap with the San Joaquin County Fair, Bay Meadows is required by California law to increase its takeout to match the higher fair takeout. Takeout on straight bets rises from 15.43 to 16.77 percent and exotics from 20.18 to 21.52 percent.