09/23/2003 11:00PM

Mandella sees a lot of Phone Chatter in Halfbridled


Trainer Richard Mandella hopes this year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies plays out like it did 10 years ago, the last time the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships were held at Santa Anita. That year, Mandella won the race with Phone Chatter, who edged out Sardula by a head.

This year, Mandella plans to send out Halfbridled, a daughter of Unbridled, who will have her final prep for the Juvenile Fillies in Sunday's $250,000 Oak Leaf Stakes at Santa Anita. Halfbridled figures to be a strong favorite in an Oak Leaf field that is expected to include Daddy's Princess, Lovely Rafaela, Nicole and Ben, Renaissance Lady, and Tarlow.

Mandella said Halfbridled reminds him very much of Phone Chatter.

"She's a tall, rangy filly that Phone Chatter was, yet still moves like a gazelle and has great action and gets over the ground good,'' Mandella said. "Since I saw her in September [2002] I likened her to that filly, and she hasn't disappointed yet.''

One difference between Halfbridled and Phone Chatter entering the Juvenile Fillies is experience. Phone Chatter had five starts heading into the race while Halfbridled will have only three.

"In two starts she couldn't act more professional,'' Mandella said. "She acts like she's done this all her life.''

The presence of Halfbridled has trainer Bob Baffert thinking that this year's Juvenile Fillies could play out similar to last year when the Baffert-trained Composure and Santa Catarina finished second and third to Storm Flag Flying.

This year, Baffert plans to run Class Above and Victory U. S. A. in the Juvenile Fillies. Class Above will simply train up to that race following her 16-length victory in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies. To avoid facing Halfbridled, Baffert plans to send Victory U. S. A. to New York for the Grade 1, $500,000 Frizette at Belmont on Oct. 4.

"I'm in the same position I was in last year,'' Baffert said. "I've got these two really good fillies, but there's that one monster. Last year, it was Storm Flag Flying, this year it's Halfbridled.''

Trainer Todd Pletcher hopes to have three runners in the Juvenile Fillies. Ashado, the undefeated winner of the Grade 1 Spinaway, is his best runner and will have her final prep in the Frizette. Marylebone, who beat stablemate Lokoya by a nose in the Grade 1 Matron, will train up to the Juvenile Fillies, while Lokoya will race in the Alcibiades at Keeneland.

Trainer Shug McGaughey, who sent out Storm Flag Flying last year, could try for a repeat with Daydreaming, who finished a troubled third in the Spinaway. Her Cup plans may depend on how well she fares in the Frizette. McGaughey also trains La Reina, a five-length maiden winner here on Sept. 6. McGaughey said La Reina is only "an outside possibility'' to run in the Juvenile Fillies.

Everyday Angel, a 12 1/2-length maiden winner at Saratoga, could earn a trip to the Juvenile Fillies with a strong performance in Saturday's $100,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie.