07/03/2002 11:00PM

Frankel goes for U.N. repeat


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Behind Beat Hollow, the top grass horse in the country, the handicap turf division is wide open. The divisional picture will become much clearer when three of the top grass horses in the West square off against two of the best in the East in the Grade 1, $500,000 United Nations Handicap at Monmouth Saturday,

The 11-furlong United Nations, the first Grade 1 of the Monmouth meet, drew an outstanding field of eight older horses.

Trainer Bobby Frankel won the United Nations last year with Senure, and he sends in Denon to lead the West Coast invaders this year. Both of Denon's victories in the United States have come in Grade 1's. He won the Hollywood Derby last year as a 3-year-old, and lost as the favorite in two starts this year before winning the Charles Whittingham Handicap at Hollywood in his last start June 15. Frankel said a change to a stalking running style turned it around for Denon.

"The two times he was beaten we didn't know how to ride him," Frankel said. "He has to lay close to the pace."

Suances and Sarafan also are from the West Coast. Suances, trained by Darrell Vienna, was a Group 1 winner in France as a 3-year-old in 2000, but an injury when he came to the U.S. kept him sidelined for 22 months. Since returning to the races this year, he has two wins in three starts.

The Neil Drysdale-trained Sarafan, a late addition to the U.N. field, holds the only win over Beat Hollow in this country, in the Grade 2 Explosive Bid Handicap at the Fair Grounds March 24. Since then, he has run fourth in the Grade 2 San Francisco Breeders' Cup to Suances and fourth in the Charles Whittingham.

The highweight at 119 pounds is With Anticipation, a two-time Grade 1 winner last year who is winless in three starts this year. He crossed the wire first in the 2001 U.N., but was disqualified and placed second. The 7-year-old With Anticipation has raced from off the pace this year, in contrast to his front-running tactics in 2001. But trainer Jonathan Sheppard said he would like to see him "fairly close to the lead" on Saturday.

Four-year-old Blazing Fury, fourth in the 2001 Breeders' Cup Turf, joins With Anticipation as one of the top grass horses in the East. He should move forward off a fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap at Belmont June 8, his first start off an extended layoff.

Post time for the United Nations, televised on CBS, is 5:09 p.m.

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