10/15/2001 12:00AM

Freshwater Pearl gets another try


ELMONT, N.Y. - At this time last year, Freshwater Pearl was being considered for the Breeders' Cup. That the 3-year-old filly remains eligible for second-level allowance conditions is not only disappointing but surprising to her connections.

"We thought she was stakes caliber when she came into the barn," said trainer Bill Mott, who received the Irish-bred last fall from Aidan O'Brien, who wound up not running her in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. "With a small move forward [Wednesday] maybe we do go somewhere."

Freshwater Pearl will try to make that move when she heads a nine-horse field entered in a second-level allowance race that serves as the feature on the first card of Belmont's penultimate day of fall racing.

The return to a one-turn mile at Belmont may benefit Freshwater Pearl, whose only win in five starts this year came under such conditions in May. Since then, Freshwater Pearl has been defeated four times at odds of 5-2 or less.

"The fact that she's won over this course going a flat mile, I guess that's a good sign," said Mott, who has a frustrating 17 second-place finishes to go along with seven wins from 44 starters at the meet. "I never figured out why [one-turn] should make such a difference."

Jerry Bailey, who remains this track's leading rider despite being away last weekend, has the call from the rail.

Christophe Clement will send out two 4-year-old fillies against his friendly rival Mott in Wednesday's $46,000 allowance race. Both Margay and Bloomy are coming off layoffs, but only because there were no spots to run them, Clement said.

Margay, who was good enough to run second to the European star Crimplene as a 3-year-old, has a win and two seconds from five starts for Clement. Two of her best races have come at Belmont, and it should be noted that Clement won a division of the Pebbles with a filly who was 2 for 2 at Belmont. In her only bad race for Clement, Margay was rank and had to check in a second-level allowance event at Monmouth in July.

Bloomy, Clement's other entrant, is 2 for 3 in her career with both wins coming at Monmouth during the summer.

Talent, who goes out for Barclay Tagg, has been inconsistent, but if her pattern holds, she should be ready to fire a good race following a poor effort over soft turf on

Sept 26. La Grande Ballade, trained by Scott Lake, also deserves consideration.

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