10/15/2004 12:00AM

Shoot for the moon

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Four-Footed Fotos
Despite an 0-for-7 record this year, Bare Necessities will close out her career in the BC Distaff.

STICKNEY, Ill. - Hawthorne homebodies will have at least one local rooting interest at the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships on Oct. 30 at Lone Star, since Bare Necessities will ship from Chicago for the $2 million Distaff.

Bare Necessities might well wind up as the longest price in the Distaff field, but her owner, George Middleton, is taking a "you gotta be in it to win it" approach.

"Mr. Middleton wants to go, and he's the one calling the shots," said trainer Frank Kirby. "She's training as well as she ever has. I've been pushing on her in her works."

Morning exercise is one thing. Bare Necessities has lost seven races in a row, and her most recent performance, a fifth in the Grade 3 Arlington Matron, was on the surface her worst of the season. But Bare Necessities wasn't at 100 percent for the Matron, according to Kirby, who took over her training from the California-based Wally Dollase earlier this season.

Even when Bare Necessities was really right for races over the summer, she seemed to find trouble of one kind or another. In February, she missed winning the Grade 1 Santa Maria by a head, and Bare Necessities's next start probably will be her last, since she's likely to be retired from racing and bred next year.

Moreover, Middleton, who lives in Missouri and races under the name Iron County Farms, is originally from Texas.

"If this is going to be her last race, why not take a shot?" said Kirby.

Kirby said Bare Necessities will travel by van to Louisville, Ky., and fly from there to Lone Star during the week before the Distaff.

Catalano likes Tamweel's chances

Trainer Wayne Catalano is at Hawthorne, steadily building up his public stable, but he has left Tamweel back at Keeneland, where she will remain until she ships to Texas for the Breeders' Cup Distaff.

Tamweel finished second to Azeri last weekend in Keeneland's Spinster Stakes, her first start in a Grade 1 race.

"My man called me this morning and said she was jumping out of the barn," Catalano said. "He wanted to know when she was going to breeze. I said, 'She just ran!' "

The way Tamweel appears to have come out of the Spinster is one reason Catalano thinks Tamweel might turn the tables on Azeri in the Distaff. Azeri, who also is being considered for the Classic, would be a strong favorite in the Distaff.

"I think the horse keeps getting better and better," said Catalano.

Smoke Chaser heavy favorite

Smoke Chaser has lost three in a row, each time running well while losing in a stakes race. She could not have found a better spot than Sunday's featured seventh race here.

Smoke Chaser has six opponents in a high-end six-furlong allowance, and she figures to be something less than even money to win. Smoke Chaser's two wins this season came in the spring, making her eligible for the race's allowance conditions. Only one horse, Seven Brides, runs under a $100,000 claiming option.

Smoke Chaser, 5, has bankrolled $300,000 in an excellent career. She started her season with a blowout allowance win over this racing surface, then won an overnight sprint stakes at Arlington before finishing third in the Grade 3 Chicago Breeders' Cup and third in the $103,000 Ellis Park Breeders' Cup. On Sept. 6, in another overnight race at Arlington, Smoke Chaser looked like a winner a furlong from home, but was tagged late by the fast-closing Souris.

Trainer Dale Bennett has given Smoke Chaser a pair of works since her last start, a sign she's at least maintaining her form. And that's all that should be required to win the Sunday feature.

Chirimoya, who makes her first start for trainer Elliott Walden, was second in the Grade 2 Distaff last spring at Aqueduct, but her more recent form is spotty.

Cloudy's Knight to River Cities

Cloudy's Knight, who might have won the Carey Handicap here last weekend with a clean trip, is likely to run next month in the River Cities Handicap, a Grade 3 turf race at Churchill Downs.

Before the Carey, in which Cloudy's Knight finished a vastly troubled third, trainer Frank Kirby considered giving Cloudy's Knight the rest of the season off. But Cloudy's Knight continues to hold his form, and Kirby sees no reason to stop now.

"He's sound, and I can't believe how well he came out of the race," Kirby said. "I think he's a graded stakes-type horse."

'Coach Jimi' headed to Ack Ack

Coach Jimi Lee, perhaps the fastest sprinter stabled here, probably will ship to Churchill for the Ack Ack Handicap next month. At 7 1/2 furlongs, the Ack Ack will stretch Coach Jimi Lee's distance limitations, but trainer Jim DiVito feels his horse can stay the trip.

DiVito also is hoping for more luck than he had last weekend at Keeneland, where Coach Jimi Lee finished sixth in the Phoenix Handicap, which appeared to be unusually strong for a Grade 3. Coach Jimi Lee broke from post 9 and raced well off the rail on a track with a powerful inside bias.

"He gets beat two and three-quarters lengths for it all, and he gets nothing," said DiVito.