07/21/2002 11:00PM

Frankel barn even deeper


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Bobby Frankel says he can't do it again. Don't believe him.

In 2001, Frankel was 10 for 21 at Saratoga, winning six stakes, including three Grade 1's and three Grade 2's. "I'm not going to have that kind of meet," said Frankel, who already has won 30 stakes races this year, 22 of which were graded. "If I can do half as good I'll be happy. Everything fell into place, like the way I won the Diana."

Starine closed out Frankel's 2001 meet by slicing through a hole in deep stretch and winning the Grade 2 Diana on closing day. Frankel also won the Whitney (Lido Palace), Alabama (Flute), King's Bishop (Squirtle Squirt), Saratoga Breeders' Cup (Aptitude), and Adirondack (You).

While Frankel may not be able to duplicate the .496 winning percentage of a year ago, it is possible he could surpass his overall win totals and stakes totals during the 36-day Saratoga meeting that begins Wednesday.

Last year, Frankel had only 18 horses at Saratoga and two of those didn't run. Monday morning, Jose Cuevas, a Frankel assistant, was waiting on the arrival of 30 horses including Auction House, a contender in a wide-open turf allowance on opening day.

Possibly the best horse in Frankel's barn is Beat Hollow, the multiple Grade 1-winning turf marathoner who is not expected to run at this meet. Frankel is so deep in the male turf division, however, that horses like No Slip and Denon could win stakes like Friday's Bernard Baruch or the Grade 1 Sword Dancer on Aug. 10.

Opening weekend figures to be a big one for Frankel, who will send out You in Saturday's Grade 1 Test and the uncoupled entry of Tates Creek and Beefeater Baby in the $500,000 Diana, also on Saturday.

You won last year's Adirondack Stakes by a neck over Cashier's Dream in what Frankel called the most exciting win he had here last year. You has won three Grade 1 stakes already this year, including a 7 1/4-length romp in the Acorn on June 7.

Tates Creek and Beefeater Baby may get overlooked in the Diana behind Voodoo Dancer and Babae.

Tates Creek was beaten only a neck by Babae in the Just a Game at Belmont and won a confidence-boosting allowance race on July 6. Tates Creek has never been worse than second in seven turf starts. Beefeater Baby was beaten 2 3/4 lengths by Voodoo Dancer in the Flawlessly Handicap in 2001. She hasn't been out since winning a third-level allowance race on April 11 at Keeneland.

The only stakes in which Frankel was a nonfactor last summer was the Travers, when he ran hopeless longshot Harrisand against Point Given. This year, Frankel could be a major player in the Travers with Medaglia d'Oro, who ran a troubled fourth in the Kentucky Derby, a poor eighth in the Preakness, and a solid second in the Belmont Stakes.

With War Emblem, Magic Weisner, and Sunday Break seemingly headed to the Haskell on Aug. 4, Medaglia d'Oro looks like the favorite for the $500,000 Jim Dandy the same day.

On Aug. 3, Frankel will go for a repeat victory in the Grade 1 Whitney with Lido Palace, who ran a good second to E Dubai in the Suburban Handicap on July 6. Lido Palace was making his first start off a five-month layoff and figures to be tighter this time. He will have to be to take on Street Cry, Macho Uno, and Left Bank in what is shaping up as the race of the meeting.

Frankel won last year's Saratoga Breeders' Cup with Aptitude. This year, he is likely to be represented by Milwaukee Brew, who won the Santa Anita Handicap before finishing third in the Hollywood Gold Cup.

Other horses who could pop up at this meet are Labamta Babe, a quality 3-year-old who is returning from injury, Aldebaran, the runner-up in the Met Mile who is being pointed to the Forego Handicap on Sept. 1, Peu a Peu, who won the Yerba Buena Breeders' Cup and came within a neck of Astra in the Grade 1 Beverly Hills Handicap, and Surya, who won the Royal Heroine at Hollywood on July 6.

"I'm stronger than I was last year at this time, but I don't think I'll finish as strong," Frankel said. "It'll be a miracle if I did."

It might be more miraculous if he didn't.