06/30/2005 11:00PM

Frankel: 'I think you'll see the real Intercontinental'


Intercontinental ran the best race of her career last fall in the Matriarch Stakes. It was at one mile on turf, at Hollywood Park, similar conditions to what she will encounter on Sunday in the Grade 3, $200,000 Royal Heroine Stakes, which is why Intercontinental is a deserving favorite.

has won 3 times in 4 starts at a flat mile, the lone loss coming in her last race, the Just a Game at Belmont Park. Intercontinental was compromised by a wide trip and a sharp Sand Springs that afternoon, but trainer Bobby Frankel on Friday took some of the blame for her loss.

"I didn't do the greatest job of training, to be perfectly honest," Frankel said from New York. "Things just got messed up with the weather. This time, I could do what I want, breeze when I wanted. I think you'll see the real Intercontinental on Sunday."

If so, her seven rivals are in trouble. Intercontinental has a terrific turn of foot that plays well at Hollywood Park, with its sharp turns. She also prefers to be covered early, which happened in the Matriarch, but in the Just a Game, Intercontinental was caught wide.

"She didn't get the best trip last time, but the other filly," Frankel said, referring to the victorious Sand Springs, "ran a big race."

Intercontinental had to spot Sand Springs six pounds in that race, and though Intercontinental again carries 123 pounds this time, that is equal to or only slightly more than her most serious contenders.

And one of them will not run. Mea Domina, who scored a front-running victory in the Gamely Handicap on May 30, has a quarter crack in her left front hoof and will be scratched, her trainer, Ron McAnally, said Friday.

With not running, Fencelineneighbor should have the lead all to herself, though she might not be of this caliber.

Ticker Tape had a rough trip in her lone start this year at Churchill Downs, but on her best day, she is one of the division's elite. She finished third, just two lengths behind Intercontinental, in last year's Matriarch, and earlier in 2004 she captured the American Oaks over the Hollywood turf.

Pickle has won 3 times in 4 starts since being imported from Great Britain by trainer Sandy Shulman. She won the one-mile Wilshire over this course in April.

Another British import, Secret Charm, is making her first start in the United States and this year. She chased the best in England and Ireland last year, and will be treated with Lasix for the first time Sunday. She is from the same connections that campaigned Musical Chimes.

The field

Royal Heroine
Purse: $200,000; 1 mile, turf; Grade 3

1FencelineneighborL. Jauregui12350-1
2Mea DominaT. Baze1233-1
3NavajaG. Gomez11750-1
4Valentine DancerJ. Court1236-1
5Ticker TapeK. Desormeaux1216-1
6IntercontinentalJ. Bailey1232-1
7IrgunetteD. Flores11550-1
8PickleV. Espinoza1235-1
9Secret CharmJ. Velazquez1154-1

* Blinkers off: Irgunette
* Odds by Art Gropper