11/05/2003 12:00AM

Flores gets 'Michel' to run


ARCADIA, Calif. - Mont Saint Michel went from turning in inconsistent performances in allowance races earlier this year to placing in the Escondido Handicap at Del Mar during the summer. The reason for the turnaround was easy for trainer Bobby Frankel to spot.

"I think it's the way he's been ridden," Frankel said. "David Flores gets along with him really well."

On Friday, Mont Saint Michel can win his third race of 2003 in a $58,000 optional claimer over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Santa Anita. The race marks Mont Saint Michel's first start in an allowance race since he won over 1 1/4 miles on turf at Hollywood Park on June 27.

At Del Mar, he finished second in the restricted Escondido Handicap on Aug. 6 and a troubled fifth in the $250,000 Del Mar Handicap on Aug. 31.

In the latter race, Mont Saint Michel rallied from eighth in the final half-mile to finish 1 3/4 lengths behind Irish Warrior despite racing in traffic in early stretch.

Flores has the mount on Mont Saint Michel in Friday's race, which has drawn eight entrants. Frankel also starts Sumitas, who was fourth in an optional claimer at Del Mar when entered for a $125,000 claiming price. Winless since the 2001 Knickerbocker Handicap at Belmont Park, Sumitas is entered to be claimed for $100,000.

"He's getting a little long in the tooth," Frankel said. "He's not quite good enough for the open allowance races."

Sumitas is coupled in the betting with Reef Diver, as both are owned by Gary Tanaka. Reef Diver won an optional claimer at Del Mar on July 26 at 38-1, but he is winless in his last two starts.

Ben Cecil trains Reef Diver and also starts Maranilla, who may lead. Maranilla was third in an allowance race on Oct. 29.

Green Line and Trial by Jury will be well-supported.

Trial by Jury won an allowance race over 1 1/16 miles on turf at Del Mar on Aug. 10 and has been narrowly beaten in two subsequent races. He won over 1 1/8 miles on turf at Churchill Downs in July.

Green Line was a troubled second in the Live the Dream Handicap at Del Mar on Sept. 10, but was only seventh in the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile on Oct. 5. Green Line did not help his chances that day when he acted up behind the gate.

This is the longest race of Green Line's career. In England in 2002 and 2003, he ran six furlongs to a mile.