08/21/2003 11:00PM

Third time toughest for Shine Again

Email

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Last year at Saratoga, Shine Again became the first horse to win back-to-back runnings of the Grade 1 Ballerina. On Sunday, Shine Again will try to make it three in a row in the $250,000 stakes.

Two things are different this time for Shine Again: In her Ballerina wins, she wasn't the highweight, and Jean-Luc Samyn rode her. On Sunday, Shine Again is the co-highweight with You at 120 pounds, and she won't have Samyn, who broke his femur in a spill Wednesday. Jose Santos will ride instead.

Eight fillies and mares were entered in the seven-furlong Ballerina. Shine Again faces an accomplished field, including You, who won the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga last year at the Ballerina distance.

Allen Jerkens, who trains Shine Again for Bohemia Stable, is not taking anything for granted.

"This is not going to be easy," Jerkens said. "She is carrying top weight - not even close to the weight she carried before."

Shine Again carried 116 pounds last year and 113 the year before.

This year, as a 6-year-old, Shine Again won the Grade 2 Genuine Risk Handicap under 119 pounds and finished second in both the Grade 2 Vagrancy and Grade 3 Honorable Miss while giving weight. She had a bullet work on the main track here last Sunday.

Shine Again, who figures to stalk the early leaders, drew post 5.

In her last start, You finished second to Cee's Elegance in the Grade 2 A Gleam Invitational Handicap at Hollywood Park on July 13. Before that race, she won the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis around two turns at Churchill Downs.

"She ran well at Hollywood," said You's trainer, Bobby Frankel, who is seeking his first Ballerina win. "She broke from the rail and [Cee's Elegance] got the jump on her, and You was giving her weight."

Before the draw, Frankel said he would like an outside post for You. He got his wish - You drew post 7.

Javier Castellano rides You, because Jerry Bailey will be at Del Mar on Sunday to ride Medaglia d'Oro for Frankel in the Pacific Classic.

Willa on the Move beat Shine Again by a half-length in the six-furlong Honorable Miss over a sloppy track on Aug. 1. Tony Dutrow, who trains Willa on the Move, left the filly in Saratoga after the Honorable Miss.

"She's doing wonderful; she really took to Saratoga," Dutrow said. "In her last race, some issues evolved. She obviously liked the sloppy track, and she got a good pace to finish up into. There figures to be a different set of circumstances on Sunday with a fast track and seven furlongs."

In her one start at seven furlongs, Willa on the Move won the Politely Stakes at Laurel Park last November by 11 lengths.

Robby Albarado rides Willa on the Move from post 2.

The ultra-consistent Gold Mover won two stakes this year in Florida: the Hurricane Bertie and Grade 2 Princess Rooney. Because Gold Mover's owner, Edward Evans, also owns a piece of Stellar, those two are coupled in the wagering.

Trainer Todd Pletcher saddles the uncoupled entry of Harmony Lodge and Smok'n Frolic. Harmony Lodge, third in the Princess Rooney, is the likely pacesetter. Smok'n Frolic closed to finish third in the Honorable Miss, a nose behind Shine Again.

Yell, who will try to give trainer Shug McGaughey his sixth Ballerina victory, and Stellar are the only 3-year-olds in the field. Yell was assigned 113 pounds, while Stellar gets in with 109. The Ballerina has been won by a 3-year-old four times in its 24 runnings.