10/24/2002 12:00AM

Handicappers' analysis of the Breeders' Juvenile Fillies


Nine furlongs is the question, Composure is the answer. She is improving with each start. Her Oak Leaf win was thoroughly professional, her subsequent works sensational. Sired by a Belmont winner and produced by a dam who ran all day, Composure wants nine furlongs. She has not run her best race yet. She will Saturday. Storm Flag Flying is unbeaten, but only two lengths better than Santa Catarina, who is several lengths inferior to Composure. Storm Flag Flying will be overbet in her first two-turner. Appleby Gardens is the pedigree longshot. By A.P. Indy, she wants nine furlongs, will go steady-paced, and figures for a major share at a big price. Santa Catarina may have peaked. Sea Jewel adds blinkers, gets Pat Valenzuela.

- Brad Free

I like to try to beat favorites who look vulnerable, but Storm Flag Flying does not fall into that category. She's a perfect 3 for 3, and looked sensational in her triumphs in the Matron and the Frizette. I will use her on top in the exotics over contenders who might offer bettable odds. Santa Catarina finished second, two lengths behind the top selection in the Frizette, but was not a serious threat to her. She will have to run a huge race to reverse that decision. Composure is trainer Bob Baffert's other contender, and might be an overlay in the exacta if the Storm Flag Flying/Santa Catarina combination is pounded down to a small price. Westerly Breeze was a $33.60 upset winner of the Alcibiades at Keeneland, and would be dangerous at a good price with continued progress.

- Steve Klein

Despite racing greenly, Storm Flag Flying ran right through a speed-favoring bias to win her debut at Saratoga, and made steady progress at Belmont, to a point where she looked like a seasoned pro stalking Santa Catarina and wearing that rival down in Frizette. Legit chalk. Considering Santa Catarina was shipping cross-country and stretching past 7 furlongs, her pacesetting Frizette was terrific. She has shown tractability, so expect Jerry Bailey to ease her back and leave the early lead to several longshots. Keep Composure in the exotics, because she is improving with every start, and drew perfectly for inside trip stalking leaders. Westerly Breeze has experience at Arlington and overcame an outside post to upset Ruby's Reception; slop a plus.

- Dave Litfin

The scary part about Storm Flag Flying is, even though she has won her first three starts impressively enough to be a heavy favorite here, she still doesn't really know what she's doing. She showed improved positional speed winning the Frizette and Matron in her last two, but is probably even more effective coming from farther back, which she can do with all the early speed in this spot. The pace could also help Santa Catarina, who made the early lead by default when second in the Frizette. She, too, can be a much tougher customer as a closer. Composure came home smartly winning the Oak Leaf, but would have to take another big step forward to contend with the top two.

- Mike Watchmaker