08/11/2004 11:00PM

Frankel has another star for Beverly D.


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - It was a weekday morning at Arlington in August 1995. Bobby Frankel had just been inducted into racing's Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, and he was wondering aloud whether his plaque ever would be updated to reflect future accomplishments.

Indeed, Frankel knew he still had plenty left to do. Later that week, he would get right to work on his post-induction career by winning the Grade 1 Beverly D. with eventual Eclipse Award champion Possibly Perfect.

Since then, Frankel not only has gone on to win another four races in the International Festival of Racing, including the Beverly D. with Heat Haze last year, but he has become arguably the most successful trainer in racing today. That wildly successful record once again colors the complexion of the $750,000 Beverly D., as Frankel brings forth Commercante, a highly promising French filly who figures no worse than second choice in the field of 11.

(pronounced CO-mer-sahnt), who was purchased in October in France, made her U.S. debut in spectacular fashion on May 29 at Belmont Park. Heavily bet in a third-level allowance, the filly cruised to an 11-length win, earning a 107 Beyer Speed Figure and immediately stamping her as yet another potential superstar to come under Frankel's care.

"We had her operated on for an entrapped epiglottis before she ran for me," said Frankel, who was expected to arrive here Friday from Saratoga. "She ran real good that first time. I was going to run her back in the Long Island at Belmont, but she had a little accident in her stall that needed stitches. She's come back good, and I figured I could just train her into this race."

Jerry Bailey, who has won the Beverly D. aboard Memories of Silver (1997) and Snow Polina (2000), has the mount on Commercante, who will start from post 10 in the 1 3/16-mile race.

If Commercante is unable to run back to her Stateside debut, the Beverly D. winner could come from any number of spots.

is the most obvious possibility. Trained by Neil Drysdale for breeder-owner Gainsborough Farm, Musical Chimes in her last start won the John Mabee Handicap, a race that perennially produces top contenders for the Beverly D.

is another logical option. A Chilean-bred mare with a highly useful turn of foot, Noches de Rosa is a two-time Grade 2 winner in Southern California for trainer Richard Mandella.

, locally based for trainer Donnie Von Hemel, also rates a solid chance after winning each of her two starts over the Arlington turf, including the Grade 3 Modesty Handicap in her latest.

Fringe contenders in the race include European invaders Necklace and Crimson Palace, as well as the well-traveled millionaire Risk-averse. The outsiders are Aubonne, Shaconage, Aud, and Quero Quero.

The Beverly D., named for the late wife of Arlington chairman Richard Duchossois, has been a crucial event in the filly-mare turf division since it underwent a major purse increase for its second running in 1989. In four of the last eight runnings, the Beverly D. winner captured the division's Eclipse Award later that year.

The Beverly D., the first of the three Festival events, is carded as the eighth of 12 races, with post time set for 3:36 p.m. Central.

The field

Beverly D.
Purse: $750,000; 1 3/16 miles, turf; Grade 1

1RiskaverseP. Day12-1
2AubonneE. Prado30-1
3Nochas de RosaM. Smith5-1
4 Musical Chimes K. Desormeaux2-1
5NecklaceJ. Spencer12-1
6ShaconageB. Blanc15-1
7AudE. Razo20-1
8BedankenD. Pettinger8-1
9Crimson PalaceL. Dettori15-1
10CommercanteJ. Bailey5-2
11Quero QueroV. Espinoza20-1

* All starters carry 123 pounds
* Track morning line odds
* Television: Saturday, 4-6 p.m. (Eastern), ABC