06/12/2001 11:00PM

Is running on Princess Ellen's mind?


ELMONT, N.Y. - Disappointed with the productivity he has gotten thus far from Princess Ellen, trainer Tom Skiffington has tried a new tactic with the filly in the morning.

"I'm training her hard," Skiffington said. "I tried training her easy. That didn't work, so I went to plan B. I remember something Woody [Stephens] said, 'Sometimes you got to put running on their mind.' "

With five works in the last three weeks, Princess Ellen will have running on her mind Friday, Skiffington hopes, when she takes on seven rivals in a second-level allowance race at nine furlongs on the turf. Friday's card, which gets under way at 3:05 p.m., starts the second half of the 55-day spring/summer meeting at Belmont Park.

Princess Ellen came to the United States last fall from Europe, where she finished in the top three in a trio of Group 1 races. In two graded stakes races last fall for Skiffington, Princess Ellen finished fourth both times. Skiffington then dropped Princess Ellen into allowance company for her seasonal debut in April at Keeneland, and she finished fourth as the 3-5 favorite.

"She was in season, but I don't believe that's a reason why they run bad," Skiffington said. "It was a really hard turf course, and then it rained during the races and it got loose and chewed up."

Skiffington brought Princess Ellen back to New York following that race, and she shows three solid workouts over the Belmont turf course and two on dirt. Jerry Bailey rides from the rail.

Princess Ellen figures to be close to what is shaping up to be a soft pace. Wild Flush, who has been on or near the lead in four of her last five turf tries, could be the one to catch under Jose Espinoza. Wild Flush, a two-time winner on Belmont's inner turf, must overcome the outside post.

Polish Hostess, who is also nominated to Sunday's Sands Point Stakes, could be the other speed in the race. A daughter of Polish Numbers, Polish Hostess won her turf debut from just off the pace at Aqueduct. Mike Luzzi rides from post 6.

Windsong, second as the 2-5 favorite when dropped to this level last out, and Ogilia, a British-bred filly who gets blinkers for the first time, loom the other major threats.

* Shutup and Dance, who suffered her first career defeat when fourth in the Genuine Risk Handicap, looms a short-price favorite in a third-level allowance race that goes as race 4. Her main challenge figures to come from Bedside Manner, who began her career with five straight wins before losing a third-level allowance race on March 15.