07/16/2003 11:00PM

Spoken Fur meets Yell again in Coaching Club


ELMONT, N.Y. - The price will be shorter and expectations higher when Spoken Fur looks to duplicate her runaway victory in last month's Mother Goose Stakes in Saturday's Grade 1, $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont Park.

Though she had reeled off three straight victories for the Kentucky-based trainer Austin Smith, Spoken Fur was a bit of an unknown quantity when, in her first start for trainer Bobby Frankel, she romped to a 5 1/4-length victory over the 7-5 favorite Yell in the Grade 1 Mother Goose. Yell, the Davona Dale winner, and Savedbythelight, the Sands Point winner, look to be Spoken Fur's major competition in the 12-furlong CCA Oaks, which drew a field of seven.

Should Spoken Fur add the Coaching Club to her resume, she would remain eligible for a $2 million bonus to be paid if she could then win the Grade 1, $750,000 Alabama on Aug. 16 at Saratoga.

A victory Saturday by Spoken Fur would also complete a wildly successful Belmont meet for Frankel. He has already won the Belmont Stakes, Metropolitan Handicap, Manhattan Handicap, Ogden Phipps Handicap, and Mother Goose - all Grade 1's - as well as the Grade 2 Shuvee and Tom Fool and the Grade 3 Poker. Overall, Frankel is 14 for 38 at this meet.

Frankel said Spoken Fur has continued to train forwardly since the Mother Goose, and he expects another big effort Saturday. With Jerry Bailey aboard, Spoken Fur will break from the outside post.

"I'm happy the way she's training," Frankel said. "She's progressing; she's doing everything right. I'm sure Jerry is going to ride her the way she's comfortable. If the pace is slow, she'll be up there; if the pace is fast, she'll be further back."

Yell encountered some traffic trouble in the Mother Goose that may lead to a change in tactics for her in the Coaching Club. Yell seemed eager in the Mother Goose, but jockey John Velazquez tried to keep her off the pace. When she finally found room, Spoken Fur was long gone, and Yell struggled home second.

Trainer Shug McGaughey said that if Yell is that eager to run on Saturday, he'll instruct Velazquez to let her go. "I wouldn't mind her being on the lead," McGaughey said.

Savedbythelight won the off-the-turf Sands Point by 5 3/4 lengths while racing on the front end. Jose Santos replaces Richard Migliore, who is out of town. Shapes and Shadows, Little Bonnet, Fircroft, and Skipamiss complete the field.