10/02/2007 11:00PM

First Lady favorites iffy for Filly and Mare Turf

EmailSaturday's $400,000 First Lady Stakes at Keeneland is the final race that offers the winner an automatic berth to the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

It remains to be seen whether that will matter. Precious Kitten and Lady of Venice, two leading contenders to the Grade 2 First Lady Stakes, are not being considered strongly for the Filly and Mare Turf, according to their respective trainers.

Both Bobby Frankel (Precious Kitten) and Patrick Biancone (Lady of Venice) are interested in using the one-mile First Lady Stakes as a prep to the $500,000 Matriarch Stakes over a mile on turf at Hollywood Park on Nov. 25. The Filly and Mare Turf is at 1 3/8 miles.

The First Lady is the leading domestic prep for the Filly and Mare Turf this weekend. Last weekend, Nashoba's Key extended her unbeaten streak to seven in Saturday's Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon Stakes at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting. She may be the only runner from that field in the Filly and Mare Turf. Frankel said a decision on the status of runner-up Citronnade, whom he also trains, will be made in coming days.

The first three finishers of Saturday's $600,000 Flower Bowl Stakes at Belmont Park - Lahudood, Roskina, and Wait a While - are expected to run in the Filly and Mare Turf. Lahudood, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, and Rosinka, trained by Graham Motion, must be supplemented to the Filly and Mare Turf for $180,000.

McLaughlin said Lahudood has the E.P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine on Oct. 20 as a possibility, too.

Royal Highness and My Typhoon, sixth and eighth in the Flower Bowl, earned automatic berths to the Filly and Mare Turf earlier this year. Royal Highness won the Beverly D., while My Typhoon won the Diana Handicap.

There are three major prep races in England and France this weekend - Saturday's Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket, and two races at Longchamp, Saturday's Prix de Royallieu and Sunday's Prix de l'Opera.

The English filly Passage of Time, a Groupo1 winner in France last year, is on course for the Filly and Mare Turf. Trained by Henry Cecil, she finished third in the Group 1 Prix de Vermeille at Longchamp on Sept. 16.