01/12/2004 1:00AM

Ticker Tape must stay closer


ARCADIA, Calif. - Ticker Tape trailed so badly on the backstretch of the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes at Hollywood Park on Nov. 28 that she seemed to lose touch with the field. Behind by 24 lengths with a half-mile remaining, Ticker Tape produced a remarkable rally to finish second in her first start in the United States.

When Ticker Tape returns in Wednesday's $75,000 Blue Norther Stakes at Santa Anita, trainer Jim Cassidy and jockey Kent Desormeaux are determined not to spot the other seven 3-year-old fillies in the field that much ground early.

Run over a mile on turf, the Blue Norther marks the first time that Desormeaux has ridden Ticker Tape, a winner of 2 of 8 starts and $108,351. In England, Ticker Tape won a handicap over 6 1/2 furlongs on turf and was third in a listed stakes over seven furlongs on turf.

Although she raced at the rear of the field in several races in England, she did not show the tendency to drop out of a race the way she did under Julie Krone in the Blue Norther.

"Julie said that when she went into the first turn, she chirped to her and got no reaction," Cassidy said. "At the half-mile pole, she said she laid down on her and she exploded."

At the finish of the Miesque, Ticker Tape was only 1 1/2 lengths behind winner Mambo Slew. Ticker Tape finished the final half-mile in approximately 45 seconds and the last quarter mile in 23 seconds.

"I've had four people on her - two jockeys and two exercise riders - and they all like her," Cassidy said.

Mambo Slew is Ticker Tape's main rival in the Blue Norther.

Trained by Patrick Biancone, Mambo Slew has not started since the Miesque Stakes. She was considered for the Santa Ysabel Stakes on dirt earlier in the month but was not entered.

Mambo Slew is a stalker who should have ample pace to follow from Brave Vixen and Yingyingying, who is trained by Biancone.

Brave Vixen led throughout to beat California-bred maidens on dirt at Hollywood Park in her fourth career start. Yingyingying remains a maiden after six starts, including a third in a turf race Jan. 4. She missed by a nose over a mile at Hollywood Park on Dec. 13, finishing behind John's Kinda Girl, a starter in the Blue Norther.

The richest entrant, at $125,483, is Stellar Jayne, who won the Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov. 1. Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, she has yet to start on turf.