10/19/2004 11:00PM

Race decision still pending for Ouija Board


The fact that Ouija Board's connections have given first preference to the Breeders' Cup Turf is good news for the other 13 horses pre-entered for the Filly and Mare Turf. The bad news is that the connections of Ouija Board will keep their options open for both races and not make a decision on where to run the 3-year-old filly until Breeders' Cup entries are taken at Lone Star Park on Wednesday.

Ouija Board will be the heavy favorite if she runs in the Filly and Mare Turf, coming off her third-place finish in the Arc de Triomphe and earlier victories in the Group 1 Irish and English Oaks. She would likely be the second choice behind Kitten's Joy if trainer Ed Dunlop and owner Lord Derby opt to run her against males in the Turf.

"We're not going to make a decision until we have to," Dunlop's racing manager, Peter Shoemark, said on Wednesday. "At the moment we're not leaning in either direction and want to take some time to go over the entries for both races and see how they pan out. We're very impressed with Kitten's Joy, and it looks like we'd have a great chance in the Filly and Mare Turf, but the Turf is twice as much money."

Ouija Board had her first serious work since the Arc on Wednesday morning, going seven furlongs with jockey Kieren Fallon aboard.

"We've got Kieren for either race, so the jockey situation won't be a concern," Shoemark said. "She'll work again here Saturday, blow out Sunday, and fly to America on Monday."

Ouija Board is one of three European invaders pre-entered for the Filly and Mare Turf, along with Nebraska Tornado and Yesterday. Surprisingly, the connections of Nebraska Tornado also gave first preference to another Breeders' Cup event, the Distaff, even though their filly has never started on dirt.

Yesterday, who finished a fast-closing third in the 2003 Filly and Mare Turf behind fellow European invaders Islington and L'Ancresse, will be back for another try. The Europeans lost another potential contender when the Beverly D. winner Crimson Palace was retired this week.

The U.S.-based contingent is led by Light Jig, who enters the race off an impressive victory of the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon Stakes, and Riskaverse, upset winner of the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational. Wonder Again, sixth as the 4-5 favorite in the Flower Bowl, is one of four other Filly and Mare Turf contenders who come out of the Flower Bowl, along with Moscow Burning, Film Maker, and Aubonne.

Stay Forever, Super Brand, and Shaconage, the first three finishers in the WinStar Galaxy Stakes, were also pre-entered, along with Katdogawn and Megahertz.

Graham Motion is one trainer with a horse in the Filly and Mare Turf who will not lose any sleep waiting on Dunlop's final decision with Ouija Board.

"I've got Film Maker in the Filly and Mare Turf and Better Talk Now in the Turf, so I'm going to have to face her one way or the other," said Motion.

Filly & Mare Turf (Grade 1) 1 3/8 miles, turf Purse: $1,000,000

Ouija BoardE. DunlopEnglish, Irish Oaks winner may opt for the Turf8-5
Nebraska TornadoA. FabreMaybe she's been looking for added distance8-1
Light JigR. FrankelDidn't beat much at SA, but did it the right way5-1
YesterdayA. O'BrienThird in this last year; rounding to top form now8-1
MegahertzR. FrankelHas big late kick, but hasn't raced in five months12-1
AubonneE. LibaudHad a brutal trip when fifth in the Flower Bowl30-1
RiskaverseP. KellyRan a good one in Flower Bowl; show me again10-1
Wonder AgainJ. TonerCan contend if able to produce her best effort12-1
Moscow BurningJ. CassidyClose to the best, just hasn't beaten them yet20-1
Stay ForeverM. WolfsonUnderrated, but this is her toughest test so far20-1
Film MakerH. G. MotionExpected her to have a better year this year30-1
Super BrandK. McLaughlinExits the Galaxy, which wasn't the best of preps30-1
KatdogawnJ. CassidyThe distance, the company, are issues for her30-1
ShaconageM. ShirotaHas never been competitive at this level50-1

- Odds and commentary by Mike Watchmaker.