06/11/2004 12:00AM

Top field gathers in French Oaks


Something will have to give at Chantilly on Sunday when the best gathering of 3-year-old fillies seen this year will go in the Prix de Diane, or French Oaks.

Half the 18 runners in the $605,000 Group 1 event would look at home in the winner's circle. Steel Princess and Latice, both 3 for 3 lifetime, are likely to vie for favoritism. By the red-hot sire Danehill, Steel Princess took the Group 3 Prix Cleopatre at the Diane distance of 1 5/16 miles on May 11. Latice, who beat the Group 1-winning colt Voix du Nord last fall in the Prix de Conde, started her season off with a victory in the Group 3 Prix Vanteaux.

Ask for the Moon, unbeaten in four starts this year, won the Diane's key prep, the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary by a neck and a half-length over Asti and Agata, either one of whom could reverse that form.