04/19/2004 12:00AM

Flirt With Danger packing on the pounds

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SAN MATEO, Calif. - In an era when owners and trainers seem particularly sensitive to weight, Flirt With Danger will carry 128 pounds in a starter allowance Wednesday at Bay Meadows.

Despite the heavy assignment, trainer John F. Martin is willing to run the 9-year-old mare, who has won all three of her starts - all starter allowances on the Golden Gate Fields turf course - since joining Martin's barn this year.

Flirt With Danger ran for a $12,500 tag at Aqueduct on Nov. 20 before owner Richard Englander sent her to Martin.

She won her first start by seven lengths carrying 116 pounds, her second by a head carrying 118, and her third by a nose carrying 125.

"If she wins and picks up more weight, I probably won't run again [in a starter allowance], but it's just a decision I had to make," Martin said.

Six are entered in the 7 1/2-furlong race. Three carry 10 pounds less than Flirt With Danger; three carry 12 pounds less.

"I think her weighting here keeps people in the race," Martin said. "The last thing we need are more short fields."

Proceed with caution

Trainer Mike Puype was understandably pleased with Trieste's Honor's California Derby victory on Saturday. But he is being cautious following the win.

Trieste's Honor is still the only member of that seven-horse field to have defeated winners. While he was game in edging runner-up Capitano, Capitano has five runner-up finishes in his eight starts. Four of them have come in stakes races, three of them graded, but Capitano has the look of one who hasn't developed a will to win.

Trieste's Honor relished the 1 1/8-mile distance and shouldn't mind running farther. He also has good turf breeding on the dam's side.

Marquee race Saturday

The San Francisco Breeders' Cup Mile, the only Grade 2 race in northern California, has 18 nominations for Saturday's running at one mile on the turf.

Only one of the nominees was considered definite early in the week, multiple stakes winner Singletary, second in the Grade 2 Kilroe Mile to Sweet Return in his last start.

Singletary was assigned the high weight at 119 pounds, one pound more than defending champion Ninebanks and Just Wonder.

If Ninebanks runs, he would be making his first start since running second in the Pacifica Handicap last Oct. 26. Just Wonder missed by a neck in the 6 1/2-furlong El Cielo down the hill at Santa Anita following a seven-month layoff.

Race tactics

Neither Ron Warren Jr. nor Russell Baze was able to ride the way he wanted in Sunday's Stanford Stakes. Baze rode Princess Lianna, who set a pressured pace on the backstretch and gave way. Warren rode Allswellthatnswell, who won despite making an earlier move than Warren would have preferred.

"I tried to lay third, but she didn't let me," said Warren, whose filly forged to the lead on the turn.

Said Baze, "I was trying to lay first, and they wouldn't let me."