10/27/2004 11:00PM

Jerkens out to snag 10-gallon Cup

Society Selection, with Shannon Uske up, puts in a Tuesday workout over the Lone Star track.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - For a guy who had never been to Texas in his 75 years, trainer Allen Jerkens was trying to fit right in this week. He went out and bought himself a nice new cowboy hat, then dodged the slings and arrows of fellow trainers over his sartorial choice.

"If I win one on Saturday, I'll wear this cowboy hat the rest of my life," Jerkens said.

It's time to cowboy up. Jerkens has two runners in Saturday's Breeders' Cup races at Lone Star Park - including longshot Bowman's Band in the Classic - but his best chance will come in the day's first Breeders' Cup race, the $2 million Distaff, in which he will send out the Alabama Stakes winner Society Selection.

Society Selection and fellow 3-year-old filly Ashado are part of a Distaff field that became far more inscrutable with the defection of Azeri for the Classic. The 1 1/8-mile Distaff has a field of 11, with at least half the runners capable of winning with their best effort.

Society Selection comes into the Distaff with a series of excellent efforts since adding Lasix. In addition to the Alabama, she won the Test Stakes and rallied to finish second behind Sightseek last time out in the Beldame Stakes. Jerkens believes she will be better around two turns, rather than the one-turn races at Belmont Park, and thinks a contested pace will help his filly's late kick.

"She likes to come off a big pace," Jerkens said. "She ran all right last time. She was in amongst horses. I thought she wouldn't like that, but she handled that, too."

Ashado has been the acknowledged leader of the 3-year-old filly division this year, based on early-season victories in the Kentucky Oaks and Coaching Club American Oaks. Society Selection defeated her in the Alabama, but Ashado returned to capture the Cotillion, which trainer Todd Pletcher believes was an ideal prep.

None of the runners in the Distaff has previously competed at Lone Star, but Pletcher believes Ashado is among the most adaptable.

"She has never been worse than third, and she is not one of these fillies that only runs well at a certain track," Pletcher said. "She's run well at Belmont, Saratoga, Santa Anita, Aqueduct, Keeneland, Fair Grounds, Churchill Downs, and Philadelphia Park."

Storm Flag Flying finished third, behind Society Selection, in the Beldame. Her late run was compromised by a moderate early pace, forcing her out of her preferred style. Her trainer, Shug McGaughey, is hopeful that Storm Flag Flying can lay back and make one big blast, as she did when she upset Azeri in the Personal Ensign.

"She's better when there's pace," McGaughey said. "The Beldame was not really our game plan. In the Personal Ensign, she laid way back in the middle of the pack, and there was a lively pace."

If Storm Flag Flying wins, she will become the first horse to win two different Breeders' Cup races. Two years ago, she captured the Juvenile Fillies.

D. Wayne Lukas, the trainer of Azeri, still has representation in the Distaff in Stellar Jayne, who upset Ashado and Society Selection in the Mother Goose Stakes. Lukas was disappointed Stellar Jayne drew the outside post in the Distaff, but warned of the day, "If Stellar Jayne wins, get ready, we're on a roll."

Island Fashion is an intriguing longshot. She won a pair of Grade 1 races at Santa Anita during the winter, then was a courageous second against males in the Santa Anita Handicap. After a summer freshening, she was a game winner of the Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap, a race she figured to need. She has plenty of upside.

Elloluv finished second in last year's Distaff, and was third in the Lady's Secret. She figures to be part of a lively early pace, which she should stalk from post 6.

"It's just what we wanted - outside, with the speed on the inside of us," said her trainer, Craig Dollase.

Tamweel was second to Azeri in the Spinster. She is in the best form of her career and merits at least a longshot look.

Hollywood Story is making her first start since July. Although she owns just one win, she has regularly competed admirably against the best of her division, and her trainer, the cautious John Shirreffs, has been thrilled with the way she has trained in recent weeks.

Indy Groove never has beaten horses of this caliber. Her trainer, Tom Proctor, pulled off a 47-1 shocker in the Distaff 10 years ago with One Dreamer.

Nebraska Tornado has outstanding form on turf in Europe, but is an unknown quantity in this, her first dirt race.

Bare Necessities appears to be going off form. She was well behind Tamweel and Indy Groove in the Arlington Matron last time out.

The field

Breeders' Cup Distaff
Purse: $2 million; 1 1/8 miles; Grade 1

1AshadoJ. Velazquez1193-1
2ElloluvC. Nakatani12312-1
3TamweelR. Douglas1238-1
4Society SelectionC. Velasquez1194-1
5Nebraska TornadoE. Prado12320-1
6Hollywood StoryT. Baze11950-1
7Storm Flag FlyingJ. Bailey1235-2
8Indy GrooveM. Guidry12350-1
9Bare NecessitiesJ. Valdivia Jr.12350-1
10Island FashionK. John1236-1
11Stellar JayneR. Albarado11910-1

* Odds by Mike Watchmaker