09/11/2002 11:00PM

If Jenda likes her, you gotta like her


SAN MATEO, Calif. - When a trainer such as Chuck Jenda gets high on a horse, it is worth paying attention.

The low-key Jenda is high, in his understated way, on AB Noodle, who will face seven rivals in Saturday's $60,000-added Carmel Handicap at Bay Meadows. The 1 1/16-mile turf race is for 3-year-old fillies.

"She's doing well," he said. "I couldn't be happier with her."

Jenda, who trained northern California-based Eclipse winner Brown Bess, wins both turf races and routes at a 21 percent clip and shows a flat-bet profit in each category. He also wins with 17 percent of his stakes entrants, so happy for him would probably be floating on Cloud Nine for someone else.

Jenda has plenty of reason to be happy with AB Noodle. She is 3 for 5 on the turf, with a pair of stakes victories, including a game win by a head against older horses in the Lady Morvich Handicap in her previous start here on Aug. 17.

AB Noodle drew the outside post 8 for Saturday's race, but Jenda is not worried about her losing too much ground, considering her natural speed.

He is concerned, as he has been all along, about her propensity to go to the front, but, he said, "She wants to go. She's a tough filly."

Since her victory in the Lady Morvich, AB Noodle has continued to work well, with a pair of bullet drills from three works.

Jenda has tried to get her to relax more early and has been successful when she works on her own.

"In a race, she's a lot more jacked-up and anxious," he said.

"In the mornings, it depends on the circumstances. You try to get her to work slow and finish well the best you can without breaking her jaw. If there are workers in front of her or someone pulls beside her, she gets a lot more aggressive.

"If you take her out and don't get involved in any traffic," Jenda said, AB Noodle will run a half-mile in 50 seconds.

AB Noodle is in a good field that includes old rival Doc's Lil' Angel, comebacking stakes winner Runaway Ab, and three Southern Californians who got their starts in Europe.

Dancing won her United States debut in the Santa Ynez, a Grade 2 at Santa Anita in January, but will be making her first start since March 9.

Sentimental Value was second in the Finlandia Cup Handicap at Del Mar on Aug. 25 in her U.S. debut.

Reefs Sis will make her first start in North America coming off a victory at Newmarket in her last start, on July 9.

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