10/05/2004 12:00AM

Trainers spar before Beldame

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ELMONT, N.Y. - Before Bobby Frankel, Shug McGaughey, and Allen Jerkens send out their best female runners in Saturday's $750,000 Beldame Stakes, the three Hall of Fame trainers will have a scrimmage of sorts in Thursday's feature at Belmont Park.

The three horsemen send out four of the six runners in a $50,000 second-level allowance race at one mile. Frankel has the numbers with the entry of Pop Princess and La Minuta, and Jerkens has the experience with Honor Point, who makes her ninth career start. But McGaughey may have the more talented runner in Simply Brilliant, who has not quite yet lived up to her name.

has won two of her first three starts. As a daughter of Pulpit and a half-sister to the multiple Grade 1 stakes-placed Santa Catarina, Simply Brilliant may appreciate the stretch out from six furlongs to one mile.

Simply Brilliant won her maiden at first asking at Gulfstream in March before finishing a close third after contesting a modest pace versus winners at Belmont in May. In her most recent start, Simply Brilliant kicked in powerfully late to get up by a neck in an allowance race at Saratoga. In that race she settled kindly behind horses, but appeared to be spinning her wheels in upper stretch before coming on.

has been beaten as the favorite in all three of her starts since coming to Frankel's barn. She was 2-5 in a six-furlong race here in July, and most recently finished second as the 8-5 favorite in a seven-furlong allowance race on Sept. 11. Pop Princess breaks from the rail under Edgar Prado.

Her stablemate, La Minuta, is winless in four starts since coming to this country. She ran decently twice in one-turn routes at Belmont.

Honor Point, a half-sister to Puzzlement, returns to the surface and distance of her last win, back on June 4. That day, Honor Point showed good speed under Jorge Chavez and held on to win by a neck. In her most recent start, Honor Point rallied strongly to just miss by a half-length behind Sweet Lips.

Last year, Maple Syrple was good enough to win the restricted Clarendon Stakes at Woodbine as well as finish second in the Grade 2 Schuylerville at Saratoga. She was purchased privately by Godolphin Racing after that and has done little since.

Broadway Lady, who finished fourth in this condition last out - but only 1 1/2 lengths behind Pop Princess - completes the field.