10/19/2003 11:00PM

Frankel hopeful with his three-horse entry


ARCADIA, Calif. - Trainer Bobby Frankel went into the 2002 Filly and Mare Turf at Arlington Park with the one-two punch of Starine and defending champ Banks Hill. He came out of the race with the one-two finishers after Starine posted a 1 1/2-length victory over her stablemate.

Saturday, Frankel will have the luxury of sending out not two but three entrants in the 2003 Filly and Mare Turf. And he considers all of them legitimate contenders.

"They're all going in very well," Frankel said, shortly after sending out Heat Haze and Tates Creek to work five furlongs in 1:01.20 under the cover of dense fog at Hollywood Park on Sunday morning. "The only problem I'll have running three horses in the race is trying to saddle them all."

Frankel said he believes Tates Creek and Heat Haze are both a little more talented than Megahertz, but that the 1 1/4-mile distance of the Filly and Mare Turf could be the equalizer.

"Obviously, Tates Creek and Heat Haze are a little better because they've been carrying more weight than Megahertz," said Frankel. "But I think she might get the distance a little better than the other two. They're probably at their best going a mile and one eighth and the mile and one quarter could catch up to them. It's hard for me to judge the field. All I know is that I have three really nice fillies. I just hope they're good enough."

Frankel has secured the services of Jerry Bailey to replace Jose Valdivia Jr. aboard Heat Haze. Regular riders Pat Valenzuela and Alex Solis will keep their mounts aboard Tates Creek and Megahertz.

Two of the main threats to Frankel's trio, Musical Chimes and Voodoo Dancer, got in their final works on Monday.

Musical Chimes worked six furlongs in 1:16.87 in company with stablemate Magic Mission at Santa Anita, where the course was firm and the orange cones known as dogs were set out well past the middle of the track. She was not asked for speed at any time during the work.

Trainer Christophe Clement chose to breeze Voodoo Dancer over the main track at Belmont Park, where she went an easy half-mile in 50.14 seconds.

"She went very well," said Clement. "She was on the bridle and finished her final quarter in 23 [seconds] and change. I think I'm sending a very lively outsider out there for the race."

Clement took the precaution of having Voodoo Dancer's coat clipped after her work in preparation for Tuesday's cross country flight to California.

"It was 38 degrees here this morning and she's already got her winter coat," said Clement. "I thought it was safer to clip her before she made the trip."

Islington, who may be the slight favorite in the Filly and Mare Turf, made her first appearance since arriving from England on Saturday, cantering once around the main track shortly after the second renovation break. She is not expected to do much more until trainer Sir Michael Stoute arrives on the scene Wednesday morning.