01/31/2002 1:00AM

Frankel heavy hitters in town for big day


PHOENIX - Bobby Frankel has managed to cut a stakes swath from Southern California to Texas to Kentucky to Illinois to New York, like Sherman marching through Georgia to the sea. Now Arizona comes under his gaze.

Frankel sends graded stakes performers Decarchy and Auction House to lead the $150,000 Turf Paradise Breeders' Cup Handicap at Turf Paradise on Saturday on what may be the biggest live-racing day of the meet.

The Breeders' Cup Handicap is the cherry atop the cake that includes the $100,000 Turf Paradise Derby and the $75,000 Arizona Oaks. The three races go as the seventh (Derby), eighth (Oaks), and ninth (BC Handicap) on a 10-race card.

But the presence of the Frankel-trained, Juddmonte Farms-owned pair of Decarchy and Auction House casts a large shadow over the Breeders' Cup Handicap, a 1 1/16-mile turf event. Decarchy has already proven himself to be top class. He comes off a terrific runner-up effort in the Grade 2 Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park on Nov. 24, finishing just a half-length behind Good Journey. In that race, he beat the likes of Irish Prize, who has since won the Grade 2 San Gabriel and Grade 2 San Marcos, and multiple stakes winner El Cielo. Decarchy was entered in a tough allowance race at Santa Anita last Saturday but scratched, presumably to go here. He looks very tough to deny as long as he handles the ride over from Los Angeles and the Turf Paradise course.

Stablemate Auction House is no slouch, having won the Brubaker at Del Mar and being blessed with speed.

The main challenge to the Frankel pair in the field of eight figures to come from defending champ Devine Wind, also a Southern California invader, and his entrymate Come Back Ronnie, who shipped to Phoenix from California and responded with a romping win in the one-mile Kokopelli on this course Jan. 5.

The Turf Paradise Derby at 1 1/16 miles on the main track has lured just six and may not have a marquee attraction as it did last year, when Startac romped. Still, it's a chance for Lusty Latin to prove himself king of the local 3-year-old set. Trained by Donald Mills, he just dominated a number of these in the one-mile Rattlesnake here Jan. 13. He figures to relish the added ground, though his lack of speed gives nemesis Jetson a head start. Glen Corbett rides Lusty Latin.

Jetson, trained by Joseph Johnson, couldn't go with Lusty Latin in the Rattlesnake, but that was his first start since November. He figures fitter and tougher, and his tactical speed makes him awfully scary.

Another horse of interest is, like Lusty Latin, trained by Mills. Captain Squire just drilled $62,500 claimers going a mile at Santa Anita on Jan. 9. He has worked well since, and his winning Beyer Speed Figure of 84 makes him dangerous here.

The Arizona Oaks, at 1 1/16 miles, is an interesting matchup that lured a field of eight. Leading the way is Kendrick Peak, the queen of the local 3-year-old filly set. She is unbeaten and basically untested in two starts. She romped in the one-mile Sun Devil here Jan. 12, earning a Beyer Figure of 82. She is trained by Kevin Lewis.

Respectful ships in from Southern California for Eric Kruljac. She comes off a strong runner-up effort in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez at Santa Anita. Her Beyer of 84 means she is every bit a match for Kendrick Peak.

No Turbulence, third in the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel, also invades from Southern California for Kruljac.

The new shooter in the Oaks is Kaveena. After being gone two months, Kaveena, a daughter of Cherokee Colony trained by Vincent Frodsham, came back here to beat maidens by 15. She must deal with a route and with winners for the first time, but she obviously has ability.

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