08/15/2002 11:00PM

Riskaverse gets a fair shake

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Pat Kelly said he felt like he had lost the American Oaks, run last month at Hollywood Park, even before Riskaverse entered the starting gate.

Riskaverse, who made the long journey from New York to California for the $500,000 American Oaks on July 6, drew the outside post in the

14-horse field. If the race had been run in Kelly's back yard in New York, he might have scratched the filly, but after spending the money to ship her across the country it made sense to run.

Riskaverse finished eighth in the 1 1/4-mile American Oaks, beaten 6 3/4 lengths.

"She ran just fine; she just ran around the outside fence," Kelly said.

On Sunday at Saratoga, Riskaverse drew a more reasonable post 8 in the $150,000 Lake Placid Handicap. There are no standouts among the nine 3-year-old fillies entered in the main body of the 1 1/8-mile turf race.

Fly Borboleta and Amarelle are entered main-track only.

Riskaverse, the winner of the Grade 3 Sands Point in June, is the 120-pound highweight in the Grade 2 Lake Placid. A Dynaformer filly who is owned by Fox Ridge Farm Inc., Riskaverse also won the Miss Grillo Stakes as a 2-year-old. Both the Sands Point and Miss Grillo were run at the Lake Placid distance.

Robbie Davis, Riskaverse's regular rider, has the mount.

Trainer Bob Hess had considered running Kirtle in the American Oaks, but decided the competition was a bit stiff and ran her instead in the $110,000 Flawlessly, also at Hollywood. Kirtle finished third in the Flawlessly, her American debut, and then followed with an easy win in a first-level allowance race at Del Mar on July 29.

"We're excited about her," Hess said. "We didn't expect her to develop this quickly. What I like about her is she has good acceleration and can sustain her run for three-eighths of a mile, which is rare."

Mike Smith, a winner of four Lake Placids, rides Kirtle, who drew post 3.

There isn't much speed in the field, and the role of pacesetter could fall to Bells for Marlin. Trained by Elliott Walden, who won Monday's Adirondack with Awesome Humor, Bells for Marlin has two sharp efforts on the turf this year, including a 1 1/2-length win in the Twin Lights at Monmouth last month.

Maliziosa, seventh in the American Oaks, won a pair of turf stakes during the spring in Kentucky and Illinois.

Clefairy makes her American debut after having arrived from Italy four days ago.

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