10/23/2001 11:00PM

F&M Turf: Lailani and Bailey get outside post


ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Edward Dunlop was somewhere over the Atlantic en route to New York from England when post positions were drawn for the $1,390,000 Filly and Mare Turf. And there was bad news awaiting him when he finally arrived Wednesday afternoon. Lailani, Dunlop's brilliant 3-year-old turf filly, had drawn the extreme outside post in a field of 12 in the Filly and Mare Turf, which for the first time in its three-year history will be run at 1 1/4 miles, over Belmont's inner turf course.

"Twelve out of 12, that sounds a bit tough," Dunlop said, shortly after clearing customs after his cross-Atlantic flight. "I'm sure she'll no longer be favored after that. Obviously, I would have rather been down lower, but there's not much I can do about it now. I guess I have three days to be concerned."

Lailani enters the Filly and Mare Turf off seven consecutive victories, including an impressive victory against England's Legend in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Handicap in her U.S. debut.

"England's Legend has a better draw, but hopefully I've got the best jockey and the best horse in the race," Dunlop said. "Those things can overcome a lot of other problems."

Jerry Bailey will ride Lailani, who is owned by Sheikh Maktoum al Maktoum. Despite her post position she still was installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite. Dunlop will also send out Prix de l'Opera runner-up Mot Juste in the Filly and Mare Turf.

"I'm not sure if she'll go to the lead," Dunlop said of Mot Juste. "If England's Legend goes to the front, we'll drop in behind her. One thing I'm certain of is that she'll assure an honest pace."

Mot Juste drew post 3 and will break directly alongside England's Legend, who starts from post position 2. Michael Kinane rides Mot Juste while Corey Nakatani will again be aboard England's Legend.

The remainder of the field, from the hedge out is: Spook Express (Mike Smith), Chaste (Edgar Prado), Banks Hill (Olivier Peslier), Volga (Jose Santos), Kalypso Katie (Gary Stevens), Solvig (Pat Day), Crystal Music (Chris McCarron), Starine (John Velazquez), and Spring Oak (Frankie Dettori).

Kalypso Katie was the only Filly and Mare Turf hopeful to work Wednesday, breezing an easy half-mile on the grass in 50.23 seconds with exercise rider Stephen Jackson aboard.

Christophe Clement, who trains both England's Legend and Volga in the Filly and Mare Turf, said that England's Legend doesn't necessarily have to be on the lead to win, as many expect she will be. A 4-year-old daughter of Lure, she led throughout to win the Grade 1 Beverly D. over yielding turf and set all the fractions before succumbing to Lailani in the Flower Bowl.

"If somebody else wants the front she can sit behind them, as she did winning the New York Handicap this summer," Clement said.

Mot Juste did not have as smooth a trip to Belmont as her trainer did. Her flight was delayed 24 hours because of mechanical problems, and she did not arrive at Belmont until 3:15 a.m. on Wednesday. Crystal Music was aboard the same flight and, as a result, neither may clear quarantine until Friday.

Trainer Andre Fabre's Filly and Mare Turf duo of Spring Oak and Banks Hill, arrived Tuesday night. Both were to clear quarantine in time to be on the track Thursday morning.

The $1,390,000 purse for this year's Filly and Mare Turf is the highest in the history of the race. It is bolstered by the supplemental nominations of Starine, England's Legend, Kalypso Katie, and Spook Express.