10/27/2004 11:00PM

Ouija Board can extend Euro dynasty

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Moscow Burning is a threat to steal Saturday's race on the lead, just as she did in the Sheepshead Bay Handicap earlier this season.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - After nearly beating males in one of the world's most prestigious races, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Ouija Board figures to be an overwhelming favorite when she returns against females in Saturday's Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Lone Star Park.

A field of 12 was entered for the Filly and Mare Turf, which because of the layout of the Lone Star turf course will be run at 1 3/8 miles for the first time since 2000. Ouija Board is also one of six supplemental nominees in the starting lineup, which will swell the total purse to a record $1,410,000.

Ouija Board will attempt to become the fourth consecutive European-bred to win the Filly and Mare Turf, following in the footsteps of Banks Hill (2001), Starine (2002), and Islington (2003). Islington led a one-two-three finish for European invaders at Santa Anita a year ago.

Ouija Board had only moderate success as a 2-year-old but really blossomed at 3. She posted three consecutive victories to begin the campaign, including the Group 1 English Oaks and Irish Oaks before suffering her lone setback this season when she was a fast-finishing third in the Arc. She might have won if she hadn't lacked racing room while attempting to commence her rally a quarter-mile from the wire.

A less than firm turf course Saturday is trainer Edward Dunlop's chief concern. The course was still soft when entries were drawn Wednesday, and weather forecasts for the remainder of the week called for a 30 to 40 percent chance of showers in the days leading up to the race.

Ouija Board has never run on anything softer than a good course and was scratched from one race due to boggy ground during the summer. Kieren Fallon, who guided her to each of her three victories this year, will be reunited with Ouija Board on Saturday.

Should the course condition or the effects of her hard effort in the Arc keep Ouija Board from turning in her best effort, the Filly and Mare Turf will be up for grabs.

Yesterday, who finished third behind Islington at Santa Anita last October, has returned to the U.S. to try again, although she does not come into the race as sharp as she was a year ago. In fact, Yesterday has had only two starts in 2004 after missing much of the year due to colitis.

"She nearly died in the middle of the summer," said trainer Aidan O'Brien.

Yesterday did show improvement when a troubled fourth in the Prix de l'Opera earlier this month and O'Brien is hoping she can come up with an even better showing in her third start on the comeback trail.

"We were delighted with her run in France and we think she has come forward since then," said O'Brien.

Yesterday will race in blinkers for the first time.

"She can be a little bit slow to go when you ask her and we think the visor [blinkers] will help her with that," O'Brien explained.

Aubonne, a German-bred, joins Ouija Board and Yesterday as the only Europeans in the race. Aubonne makes her third start in this country following sixth- and fifth-place finishers in the Grade 1 Beverly D. and Flower Bowl Invitational.

Light Jig and Riskaverse, winners of the two major U.S. preps for the Filly and Mare Turf, top the American-based contingent.

Light Jig rallied to an impressive four-length victory in Santa Anita's Yellow Ribbon Handicap while Riskaverse posted a three-quarter length decision in the Flower Bowl.

Wonder Again was a disappointing sixth as the 4-5 favorite in the Flower Bowl but would be a major threat if she can repeat her performance in the Grade 1 Diana Handicap, where she was an easy 5 3/4-length winner over Riskaverse.

Film Maker has been playing catch-up after missing the Beverly D. due to illness, but appears ready for a big effort after missing by only a length despite trouble in the Flower Bowl.

Megahertz finished a late-charging fifth after falling far back during the early stages of the 2003 Filly and Mare Turf but has not started since May 31. She won three Grade 2 races earlier in the year and was a Grade 1 winner last season.

Moscow Burning may try to steal the race on the lead as she did the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay Handicap over a yielding course last spring.

The field

Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf
Purse: $1.41 million; 1 3/8 miles, turf; Grade 1

PPHORSEJOCKEYWT.ODDS
1Super BrandP. Day12330-1
2KatdogawnK. Desormeaux12330-1
3Film MakerJ. Velazquez12320-1
4Moscow BurningJ. Valdivia, Jr.12315-1
5Ouija Board K. Fallon1187-5
6ShaconageR. Bejarano12350-1
7Light JigR. Douglas1234-1
8Aubonne J. Bailey12320-1
9RiskaverseC. Velasquez1238-1
10Megahertz C. Nakatani12310-1
11YesterdayJ. Spencer1238-1
12Wonder AgainE. Prado12310-1

* 9 percent supplementary nominations: Aubonne, Katdogawn, Moscow Burning, Ouija Board
* 20 percent supplementary nomination: Super Brand
* Odds by Mike Watchmaker