10/08/2002 11:00PM

Little Treasure arrives for QE II


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Most of the top 3-year-old turf fillies in North America have arrived at Keeneland in recent days to run Saturday in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.

Little Treasure, winner of the Pucker Up Stakes last month at Arlington for trainer Laura de Seroux, was flown here Wednesday and was one of several QE II horses to arrive by van or charter plane in midweek. Other notable arrivals include Wonder Again, Riskaverse, and Zenda.

A field of at least nine is expected for the $500,000 QE II, which has evolved into a definitive year-end race in the highly specialized 3-year-old filly turf division. Stakes coordinator Dan Bork said most of the horses Keeneland wanted to attract, except for Dublino, will indeed be in the starting gate. In two memorable races earlier this year in Southern California, Dublino, who is headed to the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, narrowly finished ahead of top QE II contender Megahertz.

Megahertz is trained by Bobby Frankel, who will be taking another shot at a major Keeneland fall fixture after having sent out Surya, Beat Hollow, You, and Lord Flasheart to defeats here last weekend. Megahertz probably will vie for favoritism in the 1 1/8-mile QE II with Wonder Again, who won the Grade 1 Garden City Breeders' Cup at Belmont in her most recent start.

Wonder Again is owned by Joan and John Phillips, whose family has an amazing history in the QE II, having won five of the previous 18 runnings. Those winners were Graceful Darby (1987), Love You by Heart (1988), Plenty of Grace (1990), Tribulation (1993), and Memories of Silver (1996).

The entire list of probables for the QE II is Alozaina, Distant Valley, Little Treasure, Lush Soldier, Megahertz, Riskaverse, Show Lady, Wonder Again, and Zenda.

Confirmed jockey assignments include Pat Day on Alozaina, Alex Solis on Megahertz, Edgar Prado on Wonder Again, and Kent Desormeaux on Little Treasure.

The QE II will be televised live on a one-hour program on ESPN. The show begins at 3:30 p.m. Eastern and will include a replay of the Sept. 28 QE II Stakes from Ascot in England.

Bold World retired

Bold World, the fast 3-year-old filly whose seven career victories all came in stakes, has been retired with knee injuries, trainer Ron Taylor said Wednesday at Keeneland.

Bold World, a Fortunate Prospect filly owned by Hardacre Farm, won a division of the Florida Stallion Stakes at Calder to win her maiden at 2. She went on to win six other stakes, including the Grade 3 Azalea at Calder in July. From 13 career starts, she earned $376,710.

Bold World will be offered for sale next month in Keeneland's breeding stock sale.

Dowager news

The last stakes of the week comes Sunday with the $100,000 Dowager Stakes, a 1 1/2-mile turf race for fillies and mares.

Probables in what is expected to be a small- to medium-sized field are Lapuma, Ornate, Pelusada, Saffron Dancer, and Strikes No Spares. The Dowager is Keeneland's female counterpart to the Sycamore Breeders' Cup, which was won Sunday by Rochester.

* Veteran jockey Brice Blanc was scheduled to ride here Wednesday. Blanc, who has ridden primarily in Southern California since February 1995, said he plans to ride indefinitely in Kentucky. Steve Bass is his new agent.