07/01/2004 12:00AM

New Yorkers make trip for Oaks


EAST BOSTON, Mass. - New England racing has always offered summertime stakes opportunities for fillies and mares on turf.

Until Rockingham Park switched to harness racing last year, the track's two biggest stakes were turf races for females. Suffolk Downs will give 3-year-old fillies their own opportunity in Saturday's $40,000 Suffolk Downs Oaks.

The Rockingham Breeders' Cup and the Spicy Living at Rockingham used to regularly draw the attention of New York trainers seeking black-type for a division that doesn't get a lot of attention - and so has the Suffolk Downs Oaks.

Among the New Yorkers with horses in the mile and 70-yard Oaks are Christophe Clement, who will send Dancing Colors in search of her second straight victory following a successful U.S. debut in a turf allowance at Monmouth Park on June 9. An Irish-bred filly, Dancing Colors took six starts to win her maiden race, but she has now won two of her last four.

Clement also entered Parisian Affair, but that filly was cross-entered at Belmont in a Friday race.

John Pregman will saddle Arvilla Priscilla. The Oaks will be her first race since she faded to finish fifth over yielding turf in the restricted Terpsichorist at Belmont on May 27. She is winless in seven starts this year and will face her former owner and trainer in the Oaks. Pregman claimed Arvilla Priscilla from Jack Murphy and Mike Gorham in May for $75,000.

Murphy and Gorham, who lost the Massachusetts Handicap by a half-length with The Lady's Groom two weeks ago, will send out Sparkle N Gold. A daughter of Formal Gold (who also lost the Mass Cap in a photo finish), Sparkle N Gold impressively won an off-the-turf allowance at Delaware in her last start.

Owner/trainer Dennis Gray is looking for an immediate return on his $15,000 shopping trip to Kentucky when he claimed Casa Nekia out of a dirt sprint May 12. He has since given her two bullet workouts over the Suffolk main track.

Lady Beelzebub, a former New Yorker herself, looked like she would be a strong factor in the Oaks when she won a prep race here on the dirt, but with the imposing shippers entered, her trainer, Frank Dullea, might opt to send her in a dirt race earlier on the card.

Rodriguez has four-win day

Trainer John Rodriguez Jr. turned in a career day last Saturday when he saddled four winners from five starters, including the feature.

"Like all things in racing, you need the good rides, the good track, and the good luck," said Rodriguez, whose previous best day was a three-bagger.

"We were pretty high on all of the horses going into today," Rodriguez said, "but you've really got to get lucky for it all to fall into place."