11/29/2004 12:00AM

Intercontinental caps Frankel Fest


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Little sister can be invited to the party now. Intercontinental, following in the footsteps of Banks Hill and Heat Haze, joined them as Grade 1 winners with an emphatic, two-length win in Sunday's Grade 1, $500,000 .

The victory completed a remarkable run for trainer Bobby Frankel. He won four of the Autumn Turf Festival stakes races run over the holiday weekend. He finished one-two in the Matriarch, with Etoile Montante finishing second. And he won the Matriarch for the second straight year, having won it a year ago with Heat Haze, Intercontinental's older sister. Those two, and Banks Hill, all are out of the mare Hasili, and all are homebreds for Prince Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms.

"We wanted to get a Grade 1 win for this filly," Frankel said. "The whole family's won Grade 1 races."

Frankel pointed for the Matriarch from the time Intercontinental flopped in her only previous Grade 1 race in this country, the Diana Handicap at Saratoga. She had raced just once in four months since then. Both she and Etoile Montante came into the race fresh, fit, and dangerous.

"These fillies were training unbelievable - both of them," Frankel said.

Etoile Montante, breaking from the outside in the field of nine, crossed over and made the top through and opening quarter-mile in 24 seconds, and half-mile in 47.77 seconds, with longshots Hoh Buzzard and Quero Quero in closest pursuit. Intercontinental was sixth, but only 2 1/2 lengths behind. Musical Chimes, the 9-5 favorite, was last, and wide.

Etoile Montante continued to lead narrowly through six furlongs in 1:11.41. Intercontinental inched forward, collared her stablemate a furlong out, then drew clear. She was timed in 1:35.87 over a course that was rated firm, but had a bit of cut after rain the previous day. Etoile Montante nosed out Ticker Tape for second. Island Fashion, who was forced to take up sharply on the final turn and dropped back to last, rallied belatedly for fourth. Musical Chimes was sixth.

Intercontinental ($11.20) was ridden by Jerry Bailey, who also captured the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby one hour later.

"She was a little rank around the first turn, but by the time we turned up the backside, she was where I wanted, and she was going the way I wanted," Bailey said.

Intercontinental, a 4-year-old daughter of Danehill, has now won eight times in 15 starts. She won the Jenny Wiley Stakes and Just a Game Breeders' Cup Handicap earlier this year.