06/05/2004 12:00AM

Intercontinental zooms by in stretch


ELMONT, N.Y. - First came Banks Hill, and then Heat Haze. Now, Bobby Frankel has another daughter of the mare Hasili who appears ready to rocket to the top of the charts among female turf runners.

The latest incarnation is Intercontinental, who won her third straight race since arriving from Europe in Saturday's Grade 2, $226,333 at Belmont Park. The Just a Game was one of five graded stakes that supported the Belmont Stakes.

Intercontinental, trapped behind horses on the turn, accelerated in an instant when room opened at the top of the stretch and pulled away to a 1 1/4-length victory over 24-1 shot Vanguardia. Etoile Montante, who like Intercontinental is trained by Frankel and owned by Juddmonte Farms, finished third, a half-length behind Vanguardia.

Riskaverse was fourth, Dedication fifth, and Wonder Again sixth in the field of eight.

The entry went off at 3-5, and paid $3.40. Intercontinental was timed in 1:33.33 for one mile on firm turf, and completed her final quarter-mile in less than 23 seconds.

"She might be better than her sisters," Frankel said. "She just needs to learn to relax a little bit. In the mornings, she's quiet and relaxed and doesn't pull."

Intercontinental broke from the rail and remained on the hedge through the first half of the race. She was pulling hard under jockey Jerry Bailey, who said he just had to wait for room to develop.

"It was a typical paceless turf race," Bailey said. "I didn't get room until the three-sixteenths, but I was able to advance so that by the time we got to the quarter pole I was right behind the first flight. You don't need much room if you've got the horse."

Intercontinental, a 4-year-old filly, is by Danehill, making her a full sister to Banks Hill, the winner of the 2001 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. Intercontinental is a half-sister to Heat Haze, who won the Beverly D. last year. Frankel said Intercontinental would likely make her next start in the Grade 1 Diana Handicap at Saratoga on July 31.