07/26/2002 11:00PM

Price may be right on Guana


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Monday's $100,000 Lake George Stakes drew a well-balanced field of 11, with no real standout. Add to the equation an unsettled forecast and outside posts for a couple of the major contenders, and the Grade 3 turf race becomes a difficult problem for handicappers to solve.

The usual suspects - trainers Bobby Frankel, Bill Mott, and Christophe Clement - entered horses in the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies. Perhaps, the Elliott Walden-trained Guana could offer value.

Guana has won two of three starts since coming to Walden's barn. Her lone loss came with a legitimate excuse. Walden believes Guana flipped her soft palate when she ran last in the Edgewood Stakes on May 3 at Churchill Downs. Guana underwent surgery to correct a breathing problem shortly after that race, and won the Flawlessly Stakes by 4 1/4 lengths at Arlington Park in her next start.

"She's a pretty solid filly; in France she beat Megahertz," said Walden, referring to the filly who has won a couple of stakes for Frankel. "Her form was good over there. I think she's a real nice filly."

Nunatall and Maita go out for Frankel. After two disappointing stakes efforts in California, Nunatall won an allowance race at Belmont on June 20 where she earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 96, the best turf figure in this field.

"She had cuts in her mouth in those two [California] races and they took a hold of her and she really bolted in both races," Frankel said. "When [Jorge Chavez] rode her the other day I told him to just come out with a loose rein don't send her out of there."

Frankel will also send out Maita, who broke poorly and finished seventh in the Grade 3 Sands Point at Belmont. Frankel's one fear is that both fillies have similar running styles. Maita will run on Lasix for the first time.

The Lake George is one of the few Saratoga turf stakes Mott has not won. He could rectify that with Stylelistick, who is 3 for 5 with two stakes wins since coming to his barn last fall. Stylelistick comes out of a third-place finish in the Regret Stakes where she did not appear to change leads.

Mariensky makes her North American debut and first start for Clement, whose brother, Nicolas, trained the horse in Europe where she was competitive in Group 1 company.

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