10/27/2004 12:00AM

Lukas runs out of luck


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - By putting Azeri in the Breeders' Cup Classic, trainer D. Wayne Lukas was left without the obvious favorite for Saturday's $2 million Distaff at Lone Star Park. And his luck in the race went from bad to worse on Wednesday morning when his lone remaining Distaff starter, Stellar Jayne, drew the far outside post in a field of 11 for the 1 1/8-mile race.

"I thought the draw was horrible," Lukas said. "But it's one of those things you've got to live with. Two out of three ain't bad."

Lukas's two other Breeders' Cup runners drew better. Azeri landed post 3 in the Classic, and Consolidator is in post 4 in the Juvenile.

The outside draw means "we're going to have to take a hard look at this," Lukas said.

"She's going to be in midpack now," he said. "We can't take a chance on her getting caught four or five wide around the first turn."

Stellar Jayne has won 3 times in 12 starts this year. The 3-year-old filly's most significant victory came when she upset Ashado in the Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park.

Ashado, the Kentucky Oaks winner, is adjudged the greatest beneficiary of Azeri opting for the Classic. Ashado is the lukewarm 7-2 favorite on the morning line set by Rick Lee of Lone Star Park.

"I told Wayne thanks, but I don't think he appreciated it," Jack Wolf, one of the co-owners of Ashado, said at Wednesday's post-draw breakfast.

Ashado ended up on the rail, a spot with which she has great familiarity.

The rail "would not have been our first choice," trainer Todd Pletcher said from New York. "But she won the Kentucky Oaks from there, and she won the Fair Grounds Oaks from there, and was a good second to [Madcap Escapade] in the Ashland giving her five pounds. So it shouldn't hurt."

The post draw found three horses with good early speed occupying the inside three spots. Next to Ashado are Elloluv, who finished second in last year's Distaff, and Tamweel, who most recently finished second to Azeri in the Overbrook Spinster Stakes at Keeneland.

"There's plenty of pace with Tamweel, Ashado, and Elloluv laying close," said Shug McGaughey, the trainer of Storm Flag Flying. "Stellar Jayne should be laying close, too."

Ashado arrived here Wednesday after a flight from New York. Elloluv, Hollywood Story, and Island Fashion all arrived from California. All Distaff horses are now on the grounds.

The only news development regarding the Distaff on Wednesday concerned the jockey assignment on the European import Nebraska Tornado, who will be making her first start on dirt. Edgar Prado picked up that mount.

John Velazquez rides Ashado. Lining up next to them, in post-position order, are Elloluv (Corey Nakatani), Tamweel (Rene Douglas), Society Selection (Cornelio Velasquez), Nebraska Tornado (Prado), Hollywood Story (Tyler Baze), Storm Flag Flying (Jerry Bailey), Indy Groove (Mark Guidry), Bare Necessities (Jose Valdivia Jr.), Island Fashion (Kerwin John), and Stellar Jayne (Robby Albarado).

- additional reporting by David Grening

Distaff (Grade 1) 1 1/8 miles Purse: $2,000,000

4Society SelectionH. A. JerkensGets more pace to shoot at than in Beldame4-1
7Storm Flag FlyingC. McGaugheyShould be more comfortable going two turns5-2
3TamweelW. CatalanoGame second to Azeri in last; no Azeri here8-1
10Island FashionM. PolancoThreat if able to recapture early-season form6-1
1AshadoT. PletcherStill a question at the distance at this level3-1
11Stellar JayneD. W. LukasBeen solid for a while, but is a notch below10-1
2ElloluvC. DollaseSecond in this last year when in better form12-1
5Nebraska TornadoA. FabreA disappointment this year; now tries dirt20-1
6Hollywood StoryJ. ShirreffsIneffective this year; absent since early July50-1
8Indy GrooveT. ProctorBiggest win came at Mountaineer; 'nuff said50-1
9Bare NecessitiesF. KirbyLost her form after the switch in trainers50-1

- Listed purses do not include supplemental fees
- Odds and commentary by Mike Watchmaker.