08/14/2005 11:00PM

A repeat of last year works for Sabellina


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - A victory in last year's Yaddo Handicap helped propel Sabellina to a championship in the New York-bred female turf division. Her connections hope a repeat performance in the Yaddo can spur her on to another division title.

meets five other stakes winners in the tougher of two divisions of the Yaddo Handicap, run at 1 1/8 miles on the inner turf. Each division is worth $75,000. This marks the fifth time in the last 16 years that the Yaddo has been split.

By splitting the Yaddo, Saratoga will card 10 races Wednesday, with the first two races being steeplechase events.

Last year, Sabellina took the Yaddo just 10 days after winning a second-level allowance race here. Wednesday, she returns 14 days after finishing last in an off-the-turf allowance race. Joe Aquilino, the trainer of Sabellina, said that race served its purpose as a workout.

Last month at Belmont, Sabellina ended a seven-race losing streak, winning a third-level allowance race against open company. In that race, Jerry Bailey kept Sabellina in the back of the pack before turning her loose turning for home. Aquilino said he would like to see a similar trip.

"When she sees daylight she wants to go," Aquilino said. "The last time we had her covered up, and Bailey waited and used her at the right time."

Bailey should be able to get Sabellina covered up from post 2.

, who was beaten a nose in this race last year, has failed to return to the form she showed last summer. Finlandia, Beebe Lake, and His Beauty, winner of the Jena Jena Stakes last month, are Sabellina's biggest threats.

won a division of the split Mt. Vernon Handicap in June and is the most accomplished runner in the second division of the Yaddo. Lady Bi Bi had the rail in the Mt. Vernon, however, and has the outside post in Wednesday's nine-horse field.

The improving may be the right one in this heat. A 4-year-old daughter of Take Me Out, Nurse Culkin finished second in the Mt. Vernon Handicap before winning a second-level allowance race July 14.

"She's a tad better filly than last year," said trainer Angel Penna. "My only concern with her is she gets in trouble very easy. In Florida, she had a lot of horrible trips, checking, bumping, steadying. She's honest; she's going to give you everything she's got."

Kate Winslet returns to New York-bred competition after having a wide trip when fifth in an open stakes at Delaware Park.