08/15/2003 11:00PM

Heat Haze captures Beverly D. to give Frankel another G1

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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - In the end, he needed only one. Trainer Bobby Frankel got his 18th Grade 1 victory of the year when Heat Haze, his only remaining starter Saturday in the $700,000 Beverly D. at Arlington Park, swept past the entire field to post a 1 1/4-length victory.

Earlier in the week, Frankel entered but scratched another of his top turf mares, Tates Creek, the morning-line favorite in the Beverly D. In her absence, Heat Haze became the 8-5 favorite among Arlington fans, and she did not disappoint. Ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr., Heat Haze trailed most of the way before unleashing a torrid run to catch and pass front-running Bien Nicole with about 70 yards left in the 1 3/16-mile race.

Victory in the $700,000 Beverly D. was the fourth in five U.S. starts for Heat Haze, a 4-year-old Green Desert filly bred and owned by Juddmonte Farms. Imported from France last fall, her only defeat in this country came last month in the Grade 1 Diana at Saratoga when she finished second by a neck to Voodoo Dancer.

Bien Nicole, the 20-1 outsider in a field of seven, set the Beverly D. pace in relatively slow fractions in 25.04 seconds, 49.78, and 1:13.68, while Dublino, the 2-1 second choice, stalked in perfect position. Meanwhile, Heat Haze rated comfortably in the back, about five lengths behind, but after turning for home, Heat Haze followed Riskaverse into contention before shifting to the outside and launching her winning bid on the far outside.

The fractions, said Valdivia, "felt like they were slow. With Dublino second, I felt like they had to be. All I had to do was show her some daylight, and she came blasting."

Heat Haze finished in 1:55.94 over a course rated good, paying $5.40 to win. Bien Nicole, ridden by Don Pettinger, held second by a half-length over Riskaverse. Then came Walzerkoenigin, Dublino, Dress to Thrill, and Owsley.

Frankel, speaking from Saratoga, said Heat Haze "ran a great race. I was a little concerned about the ground, but obviously it was firm enough for her. She's a very explosive filly. I told the Juddmonte people when I got her, I like her better than Banks Hill," the farm's winner of the 2001 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

The $2 exacta paid $107 and the $2 trifecta paid $391.40.

In earlier Saturday action:

* Savorthetime, the odds-on favorite in a field reduced to just four fillies and mares, got an ideal trip in winning the $50,500 Safely Kept Stakes by three lengths over Smoke Chaser. Savorthetime ($3.60), trained by Al Stall Jr. and ridden by Curt Bourque, ran six furlongs in 1:09.58 over a fast main track.

* Another odds-on winner, Coach Jimi Lee ($3.40) charged past front-running Fifteen Rounds inside the furlong pole to post a 3 1/2-length triumph in the $52,400 Forward Pass Stakes for 3-year-olds. Coach Jimi Lee, trained by Jimmy DiVito and ridden by Pat Day, finished seven furlongs in 1:21.88 after Fifteen Rounds blazed a half-mile in 44.02 seconds.

* Ask the Lord ($7.40), ridden by Day, gave Stall his third winner of the card when emerging best in a crowded finish in the $53,600 Cigar Stakes at 1 1/8 miles. San Pedro was second by a half-length, with Baker Road and Halo's Tiger closely following. Stall also won the first race of the day with Somethingdangerous.