10/16/2003 11:00PM

Riskaverse, Bien Nicole deserve a shot


Their fillies will be two of the outsiders in the $1 million , but trainers Pat Kelly and Donnie Von Hemel believe Riskaverse and Bien Nicole have earned the opportunity to compete in the Breeders' Cup.

"She's danced about every Grade 1 dance and been right there all year, tries hard every time, and deserves a chance in the Breeders' Cup," said Kelly, who trains Riskaverse for her owner-breeder, the Fox Ridge Farm.

As was the case a year ago at Arlington Park, Kelly will send out both Riskaverse in the Filly and Mare Turf and Evening Attire in the Classic. Riskaverse finished seventh, beaten less than three lengths by Starine despite trouble in the 2002 Filly and Mare Turf.

"We weren't really planning on running in this race last year," said Kelly. "But then she won the Queen Elizabeth II at Keeneland. Since she was already out in the Midwest we decided to take a chance and I thought she ran extremely well."

Riskaverse has captured just 1 of 6 starts this season, her lone victory coming against allowance company in her 2003 debut. She has also finished second in the Grade 3 Just a Game Handicap, third in the Grade 2 New York Handicap, third in the Grade 1 Beverly D., and fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Grade 1 Diana and Flower Bowl.

"We could have shipped her around, done some easier things, and she'd probably be coming into this race with more than one win," said Kelly. "But anytime a horse goes from 3 to 4, things are going to get tougher. It's like the sophomore year for a college athlete who was a star as a freshmen but finds things a lot rougher when he goes up against the big boys."

Kelly is just looking for a little racing luck and an honest pace in the 14-horse Filly and Mare Turf field.

"Most of the races she's been in this year have had small fields and they've just galloped along early then sprinted to the wire," said Kelly, who said Riskaverse will have her final work over the Belmont turf course on Sunday, weather permitting.

Bien Nicole finished a half-length in front of Riskaverse when she finished second behind Heat Haze in the Beverly D. Then she dominated the Grade 2 Win Star Galaxy by 7 1/4 lengths earlier this month.

"She's good right now and has a lot of confidence," said Von Hemel. "She's obviously got a big job in front of her but we believe we're coming with a chance to win the race."

Bien Nicole is scheduled to fly here on Tuesday and Von Hemel is planning to give her a couple of looks at Santa Anita's unique turf course prior to the race.

"I want to get her on the course and let her experience that turf-to-dirt deal they have out there," said Von Hemel. "She doesn't need to work again, she puts a lot into her training, but I think she really needs to see that course a couple of times before she runs."