08/28/2003 12:00AM

Lindsay Jean fresh for return


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Lindsay Jean and A B Noodle, northern California's top two female turf runners, square off in Saturday's $60,000 Autumn Leaves at one mile on the turf.

The first stakes race of the Bay Meadows fall meet drew seven fillies and mares.

A B Noodle developed into northern California's top 3-year-old female turf runner last year when she won four straight races over the turf here, including a narrow victory over Lindsay Jean in the Lady Morvich Handicap last August.

Lindsay Jean has won 2 of 4 starts this year. She won the Grade 3 Brown Bess at Golden Gate Fields, the Miss America here, and then finished third in the Grade 3 Yerba Buena Breeders' Cup Handicap. In her last start, she finished eighth in the Royal Heroine at Hollywood Park on July 5.

"We freshened her up and let her get her legs underneath her," Lindsay Jean's trainer, Art Sherman, said. "She likes this turf course, and I think she runs really well fresh. She likes to have her races spread out, but that's all right because she's a pretty willing worker."

Sherman said the 5-year-old mare, who has earned $333,410, will likely be retired after this year.

The race could set up nicely for Lindsay Jean, who is at her best stalking the pace. There is a great deal of speed in Sharp Miss, Knockout Crown, and Marty's Zee.

A B Noodle, winless in three dirt stakes races this year, drew the outside 7 post and also has good speed.

"She won't rate off a slow pace," said trainer Chuck Jenda. "If there's another filly like she is in the race, she's shown she can rate on the outside."

Jenda said he's been working on getting A B Noodle to settle down in the paddock before her races.

"She's been at Bay Meadows all week, and we've schooled the heck out of her," he said.

Familiar faces in Turf Championship

Defending champion Ninebanks and 10-year-old Native Desert top the nominations for Monday's $100,000 California Turf Championship at one mile on the turf. Native Desert won the race in 1998, 2000, and 2001, when he dead-heated with Spinelessjellyfish.

Surprise Halo, the runner-up to Ninebanks last year, Aly Bubba, Bourbon County, Gypsy Road, Long Gone Con, and Obermeister were also nominated to the race for California-breds, ages 3 and up.