10/18/2001 11:00PM

No superfillies, but good value in Anoakia


PHOENIX - Sure, the best juvenile fillies are headed for New York and next week's World Thoroughbred Championships. But that doesn't mean all the action stops. Those who aren't good enough or aren't yet ready still have the chance for a stakes win.

And you have the chance to make a score. Sunday's Anoakia Stakes for 2-year-old fillies going six furlongs at Santa Anita doesn't bring out any household names, but that may be a blessing. After all, most Western racing fans know about Habibti, Tempera, and Who Loves Aleyna. They don't know about the Anoakia fillies, meaning you might find a nice number on a filly ready to strut her stuff.

Candor, from the Ron McAnally barn, is by Crafty Prospector. In other words, her forte figures to be going short and going short right now. That pedigree has no illusions of Kentucky Oaks grandeur.

At the end of September she won her maiden race gamely, and while this is her first time against winners, she looks like a filly with ability.

There are two others of considerable interest in the Anoakia.

Ms. Louisett may still be a maiden, but she has Grade 1 black type. She was last seen finishing third, beaten six lengths, in the Oak Leaf Stakes at Santa Anita Sept. 30.

She obviously has some ability; can anyone else in here get within six lengths of Oak Leaf winner Tali'sluckybusride? She returns to a sprint, which may actually be her best game.

Another major player is Lil' Awesome Annie, who invades from Albuquerque. A daughter of Matty G, who has done well with youngsters early in his stud career, she annihilated her foes by over eight lengths in her only start at Albuquerque. It's easy to believe she can make a forward move off her only start.

Toss in Asian Adventure, a stakes winner at Del Mar and third in the Bay Meadows Mid-Peninsula recently, and Calder shipper Ponche De Leona, who just beat $50,000 claimers by five easy lengths, and you have some options in a race where no one figures to attract a ton of money.

The lean here: Candor, Ms. Louisett, Lil' Awesome Annie.

One week to go

One of the wonderful things about the Breeders' Cup is the internal debate it creates. Starting some time in the spring you start to think about who you might like in a particular race. It is, of course, something of an exercise in futility, since there's so much time still until the big day.

Well, the big day is at hand, and opinions have added importance. You know who is pre-entered. You know who has prepped well. Notwithstanding the post position draw and last-minute developments, it's easy to begin to commit.

I've already found a couple distinct leanings.

I feel extremely confident about Flute in the day's opener, the Distaff. This, of course, is no revelation. She certainly figures to be favored over Exogenous and a host of so-so older fillies. The belief here is that she has not only a talent edge, but that the Beldame should have given her what she needed in a prep race. Just don't expect to get rich if she pulls through.

My other two strong feelings, however, may bring prices with them. I simply loved the way Swept Overboard won the Ancient Title. Sure, Kona Gold will be extremely tough. But Swept Overboard blasted by him at Santa Anita and may be getting better. Can you say the same thing about Kona Gold? If he has lost so much as half a step, he's vulnerable, and Swept Overboard figures to go off at 8-1 or so. There's no way I'm leaving Kona Gold out of the tri, but right now I'm strongly leaning toward keying Swept Overboard over Kona Gold, Caller One, Mozart, El Corredor, Yonaguska (if he draws in) and Bet on Sunshine.

My other feel-good situation comes in the Classic. Compare this year to last year. The Europeans Galileo and Fantastic Light are in all probability better horses than Giant's Causeway, who just missed to Tiznow in a marvelous effort last year. Tiznow may not be as good as he was last year. Aptitude, the possible favorite, may not be as good as Tiznow was last year.

You can probably bank on at least one of the two Europeans handling the dirt. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if Europe made its biggest splash ever in this Cup. Don't be stunned to also see big races from Mozart in the Sprint, Johannesburg in the Juvenile, Noverre in the Mile, Lailani and Banks Hill in the Filly and Mare Turf, Sakhee and Mutamam in the Turf.