11/07/2003 1:00AM

These turf specialists have no advantage


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The forecast through Sunday in New York was for clear skies, which may disappoint many of the trainers who entered horses for Sunday's $100,000 Perfect Arc, one of four stakes races for New York-sired horses on the program.

Among the eight fillies or mares entered in the one-mile turf race, only two can be considered true grass specialists. The rest, including two horses entered only if the race comes off the turf, have tried the grass intermittently if at all, and with less than spectacular results.

Ma Femme is one of those turf specialists. Part of a two-horse entry from trainer John Hertler, Ma Femme has started on the grass in 14 of her 17 career starts, and all three of her wins came on the turf.

That is not to say Ma Femme will be favored. Last year, Ma Femme, by Husband, led in the Perfect Arc until the head of the stretch, but she faded to finish fifth in what was a typical performance for the 5-year-old mare, who has had trouble holding leads.

"She'll go to the front Sunday, and hopefully she'll hold on longer this time than last year," Hertler said Friday. Hertler added that Ma Femme would scratch if the race came off the turf.

Hertler's other entrant, Bound on Bi, also started in the Perfect Arc last year - as a maiden - but she never got into the race. Last in the early going, she made up little ground during the race and finished eighth of nine. Hertler said jockey Richard Migliore will be instructed to keep Bound on Bi just off the pace.

The other turf specialist in the Perfect Arc is the 4-year-old filly Irish Glory, trained by Leo O'Brien. Like Ma Femme, however, Irish Glory has little other than her turf experience to give bettors confidence. She has failed to keep up with her competition in her last eight grass starts, and even in her two in-the-money finishes in that stretch, she was beaten by open lengths.

If the race stays on the turf, which is likely, two horses who have never started on the grass will be heavily scrutinized by handicappers. Golden Damsel, a 3-year-old filly by Gold Token, has won four of her last five starts in statebred company, but she has been off since May 18. Jerry Bailey will ride for trainer Gary Contessa.

Mischievously is the other filly in the race not to have started on the grass. Trained by Steve Asmussen for Padua Stables, Mischievously has started only once at one mile, and faded badly in that race to finish sixth, beaten eight lengths.

Rounding out the field are Board Elligible, who has one grass start from 14 career races; Queen's Triomphe, with three grass starts from 12 career races; and Multiple Wins, six grass starts from 24 career races.

Raffie's Dream and Blue Hills are entered for the main track only.