08/01/2005 11:00PM

Slight edge to Jerkens filly


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Off to a hot start at Saratoga, including a thrilling victory by Artie Schiller in Monday's Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap, trainer Jimmy Jerkens hopes to continue his winning ways Thursday when he saddles Karakorum Splendor in the $250,000 Statue of Liberty division of the New York Stallion Stakes.

Only six 3-year-old fillies sired by New York-based stallions were entered for the 1 1/8-mile dirt race. None of the six is proven at the distance. , the only two-turn winner in the field, has lost five of her last six starts by double-digit lengths.

In her only race around two turns, Karakorum Splendor finished fifth as the favorite in last December's East View Stakes at Aqueduct. Jerkens, who is 3 for 4 at this meet, doesn't believe that was a true barometer of her distance capabilities.

"She wasn't doing any good at the time,'' Jerkens said. "She got very nervous around that time; she just lost it for a while. We shipped over to Aqueduct and she was absolutely horrible.''

wasn't much better in her seasonal debut, finishing a well-beaten fourth in the Park Avenue Stakes in April. Following that effort, Jerkens added blinkers to Karakorum Splendor's equipment, and she responded with two wins and a second. All three races were at seven furlongs.

"I thought she ran evenly in those seven-furlong races; usually that's a good sign" that they can stretch out, Jerkens said. "I just hope she goes into that first turn comfortably. If Johnny can coax her around that first turn, she will be tough.''

John Velazquez rides Karakorum Splendor from post 2.

, a New Jersey-bred, is eligible for this race because her sire is the New York-based A. P Jet. Avery Hall won the Open Mind Handicap, a six-furlong stakes for Jersey-breds in May, and has shown speed in her two route races. Having drawn the rail, she is likely to be on the lead again under Tony Black.

Stellar Maiden has only a maiden win to her credit, but is a daughter of the distance-loving Raffie's Majesty. Stellar Maiden won her maiden going a mile at Belmont in May and was second, beaten only one length, in an entry-level allowance race at 1 1/16 miles in June.

Dynamo Hum goes turf to dirt. All three of her wins have come at six furlongs. Fountain'sprincess, 1 for 8, completes the field.