10/20/2004 12:00AM

Homecoming for filly with star name


ELMONT, N.Y. - Kate Winslet, a filly named for the Academy Award-winning actress and the star of the box-office hit Titanic, will run in the $150,000 Ticonderoga Handicap on the New York Showcase Day card.

Kate Winslet, who was bought three weeks ago by Team Valor and partners, was scheduled to arrive from France on Wednesday evening. She makes her first start for trainer Rick Violette Jr. in the Ticonderoga, a 1 1/8-mile grass race for fillies and mares.

The Ticonderoga is one of seven stakes, worth a total of $1 million, for New York-breds on Showcase Day.

Bred by the late John Franks, Kate Winslet is a 3-year-old by New York sire Signal Tap. She has 4 wins from 14 starts in France. Earlier in her career, she was trained and owned by Franck Mourier, who bought the filly as a yearling for $13,500 from an Ocala Breeders' Sales Company sale, named her, and brought her to France.

Barry Irwin, the president of Team Valor, said Kate Winslet the actress played a role in helping Mourier, who is French, learn English.

"He went to see 'Titanic' over and over again and he said he learned to speak English through Kate Winslet," Irwin said. "The Jockey Club rejected the name at first because he didn't have permission, but he sought permission and got the name."

Kate Winslet won her last race, against males, in a 1 3/8-mile listed stakes for her third win this year for trainer Marcel Rolland.

Team Valor owns the filly in partnership with Robert Clay of Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky, William Heiligbrodt, and NeverTell Farm.

Clay, said Irwin, "had a lot of good fillies from this family," and that when Kate Winslet is retired, she will go to Three Chimneys and be bred, and that Clay will arrange for her sale.

"We liked the fact she is a New York-bred," said Irwin, "and it looks like she will cut it in open company."

Jose Santos will ride Kate Winslet.

Board Elligible to challenge males

Board Elligible will take on males in Saturday's $250,000 Empire Classic Handicap, the feature on the Showcase card.

Jimmy Ferraro, Board Elligible's trainer, said part of his decision to run the 4-year-old in the 1 1/8-mile Empire Classic was based on the company Board Elligible has been keeping. In her last two starts, Board Elligible finished fourth in Grade 1 races, the Personal Ensign and Beldame. In the Beldame, champion Storm Flag Flying beat Board Elligible by less than a length for third.

"The Empire Classic seems to be a drop down compared to her last couple starts," Ferraro said. "Her last race was weight-for-age and she is actually dropping weight here. There actually aren't any other races for her that day that fit.

"We like the distance and the fact it's New York-breds," said Ferraro. "The only drawback is that it's against the boys."

Pablo Fragoso will ride Board Elligible, who was assigned 116 pounds.

A large field is taking shape for the Empire Classic. The three highweights at 119 pounds - Rogue Agent, Sherpa Guide, and Spite the Devil - are expected to run. Other probables are Everydayissaturday, Levendis, Mr. Determined, Seven Come Eleven, Vault, West Virginia, Will's Journey, and Work with Me.

No Parole more comfortable on grass

No Parole ran one of the best races of his career last year when he finished third in the Hudson Handicap on Showcase Day, but this year his connections have opted to run him on the grass in Saturday's $150,000 Mohawk Handicap on the grass.

No Parole is 1 for 4 on the grass. His win on the turf came at Belmont Park in September in a $60,000 claiming race. In his next start, No Parole finished a close third in the restricted Elusive Quality Stakes on the turf here Oct. 6.

Joe Aquilino, who trains No Parole, said the turf is kinder on the gelding's feet.

"He likes the footing better," Aquilino said. "He had some foot problems and we ran him back on the grass - something he had done earlier in his career - and he liked it. He has showed a little more aggression early in his grass races and has performed well."

Jorge Chavez will ride No Parole in the 1 1/8-mile Mohawk.

Clever Electrician confirmed for Hudson

After giving some thought to running in the Empire Classic, the connections of Clever Electrician have decided to keep their 5-year-old horse sprinting and point to the $125,000 Hudson Handicap on Saturday's New York Showcase card.

Clever Electrician, owned by the Gumpster Stable and trained by Bruce Levine, has won his last two starts sprinting. On Aug. 19, he took the 6 1/2-furlong John Morrissey at Saratoga and came back on Sept. 10 at Belmont to win the General Douglas MacArthur Handicap at seven furlongs.

While Levine feels seven furlongs is Clever Electrician's best distance, he believes the horse has a better chance cutting back to the six furlongs of the Hudson than stretching out to the nine furlongs of the Empire Classic.

"The horse is a sprinter," Levine said. "The whole family sprinted and I think it makes more sense. To be 8-5 or 2-1 for $125,000, to give that up is a lot of money."

Clever Electrician is by Clever Trick out of the 26-year-old mare Loose Wire. Loose Wire has already produced two prior winners of the Hudson: Scottish Monk (1989) and Wire Me Collect (1997).

Clever Electrician will be the 121-pound highweight in the Hudson, along with Top Shoter, who finished second to Clever Electrician in the MacArthur. Others expected to run include Uncle Cammie (119), Papua (119), Friendly Island (115), and Affair in the Air (112). Salty Character (110) is possible.

Multiple Choice back after freshening

Multiple Choice, a graded stakes winner on the turf at Belmont in May, is among seven sprinters entered in Friday's seventh race on the dirt. The six-furlong race has a claiming price of $75,000 down to $65,000.

Multiple Choice, who was claimed for $100,000 by trainer Pat Reynolds three starts back, is entered for $75,000.

Despite his win in the Grade 3 Jaipur, Multiple Choice is probably a better on the dirt and has run some of his best races over Belmont's main track. He enters Friday's race following a seven-week freshening.

After facing stakes company in his last three starts, First Blush should be tough in this spot. First Blush made his turf debut in his last start and didn't appear to care for the surface change.

Dubai Sheik and Trial Prep are coming off winning races. Dubai Sheikh closed into a fast pace to win a $65,000 claiming race and beat Gracious Humor, one of his rivals on Friday. Trial Prep won his last start for $50,000 for trainer Bruce Levine, who is having a tremendous Belmont fall meet.

Wheaton's Aly won two allowance races at Monmouth during the summer. Parhelion completes the field.

Chavez hires Adika

Jorge Chavez has hired Steve Adika to be his agent, effective immediately. Chavez and his current agent, Gary Gullo, have parted company. Chavez initially hired Harry "The Hat" Hacek to be his agent, but Hacek had to decline because of personal reasons.

Adika has represented several jockeys, most notably Mike Smith and Javier Castellano.

Gullo is planning on returning to training. Gullo will oversee Stanley Hough's 15-horse string here this winter while accruing horses of his own.

- additional reporting by David Grening