12/02/2003 12:00AM

One-shot Euro or Heat Haze?


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - It is the conundrum facing Eclipse Award voters nearly every year: Do you reward a European import who won her lone start in this country, or an American-based horse with an imperfect record who raced admirably in the United States all year long?

The balloting for champion female turf horse is this year's $64,000 question. The top candidates are a pair of Europeans who won Breeders' Cup races, and a two-time Grade 1 winner who raced throughout the U.S. from April through November.

Both Six Perfections, who won the Breeders' Cup Mile, and Islington, who won the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, followed outstanding European campaigns with a victory at the World Thoroughbred Championships.

But a compelling case can also be made for Heat Haze, who completed an ambitious U.S. campaign with her victory in last Sunday's Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes at Hollywood Park.

The Matriarch was the seventh race this year for Heat Haze. She won four times, ranging from the 6 1/2-furlong turf sprint of the Las Cienegas Handicap at Santa Anita, to the 1 3/16 miles of the Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park. She ran in California, Kentucky, New York, and Illinois, and competed in five Grade 1 races, winning two of them.

Bobby Frankel, the trainer of Heat Haze, is certainly biased toward the championship merits of Heat Haze, but his reasoning is logical.

"I don't want to take anything away from Islington or Six Perfections. They're both outstanding fillies," Frankel said Tuesday morning at Hollywood Park. "But my filly didn't have the same opportunities that they did. Her best race is at a mile. There's no Group 1 races at a mile all year for fillies, except for the Matriarch. So we had to stretch her out in Group 1 races at distances that were probably too far for her. And she ran well in those races. If there were mile races for fillies here all year, like in Europe, she'd go in that. I mean, if Six Perfections had run here all year, she probably would have been beaten a few times because she would have been in the same situation. I don't think she wants to go a mile and a quarter."

Heat Haze emerged from the Matriarch in good order, and will be given a brief vacation, Frankel said. Frankel was unsure if Heat Haze would race next year. "Juddmonte hasn't said anything yet," he said, referring to the farm that bred and owns Heat Haze.

Another Juddmonte runner, Etoile Montante, was transferred to Frankel's care after the Matriarch, in which she was favored. "I'm just going to freshen her up. She'll run next year for sure," Frankel said.

Two pounds not enough, Dollase says

Wally Dollase, the trainer of Bare Necessities, said his filly will take on Adoration in Sunday's Grade 2, $150,000 Bayakoa Handicap, but he thinks Bare Necessities should receive more than two pounds from the winner of the Breeders' Cup Distaff.

Adoration was assigned 121 pounds, Bare Necessities 119 for the 1 1/16-mile race.

Adoration carried scale weight of 123 pounds in the weight-for-age Distaff, but carried just 115 pounds when beaten by Got Koko, Elloluv, and Azeri in the Lady's Secret Breeders' Cup Handicap in her previous start. Bare Necessities carried 119 when she won the Gardenia Handicap at Ellis Park in August, which was her last start.

Dollase said that George Middleton, whose Iron County Farms, Inc., bred and owns Bare Necessities, had initially planned on breeding Bare Necessities next year to Giant's Causeway, but reconsidered. The filly was given a brief freshening after the Gardenia, and has worked steadily in recent weeks.

"She's had four six-furlong works in a row. She's ready," Dollase said.

Dollase's wife, Cincy, said Bare Necessities was named for the popular song from the Disney movie "The Jungle Book" made famous initially by Phil Harris, the father of Middleton's wife, Phyllis.

The Bayakoa is also expected to include Angel Gift, Keys to the Heart, Southern Oasis, and Star Parade, and possibly Blind Ambition.

Elloluv stays sharp

Elloluv, who finished second to Adoration in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, worked a half-mile in 47.60 seconds on Tuesday morning while tuning up for the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes over seven furlongs at Santa Anita on Dec. 27. The La Brea is restricted to 3-year-old fillies, is worth $100,000 more than the Bayakoa, and gives Elloluv three more weeks of down time.

"She can run against her own kind, and it's nice to give her a little freshening after two big efforts," said her trainer, Craig Dollase.

Elloluv's time was the fastest of 26 at the distance on Tuesday. The main track was listed as fast, but the surface played much slower than usual.

- Musical Chimes, who lost narrowly to Heat Haze in the Matriarch, "will be given a rest now and come back in the spring," according to her trainer, Neil Drysdale.

- Drysdale said that Sarafan, who finished far back on soft turf in last Sunday's Japan Cup, already has arrived in Hong Kong for a one-mile race there on Dec. 14. "Victor Espinoza basically eased him when he couldn't handle the course, so the race didn't take anything out of him," Drysdale said. "He was bucking and squealing the next day."

- Wally Dollase said that Irish Warrior, who finished second to Redattore in Saturday's Citation Handicap, will be freshened "for two weeks or a month" at a farm before returning to training.