07/12/2001 12:00AM

Trip has her good race days and bad


Consistency is not exactly a hallmark for Trip, but a half-million bucks in the bank might suggest that consistency could be a tad overrated.

A 4-year-old Lord at War filly owned by Claiborne Farm and trained by Frank Brothers, Trip has developed into something of an all-or-nothing type. Since last fall, she has won three times and finished out of the money four times, with no seconds or thirds in between.

Saturday, when Trip faces nine other fillies and mares in the $100,000 HBPA Handicap at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky., Claiborne and Brothers obviously will be hoping that the "good" Trip shows. In her three victories this year, she has been quite impressive, most recently by capturing the Grade 3 Chicago Breeders' Cup Handicap at Arlington Park. Her career earnings stand at $518,168 from 16 career starts.

Largely on the basis of her Chicago triumph, Trip was named the 119-pound highweight in the one-mile HBPA Cap, the first stakes of the Ellis meet. Rose of Zollern, a hard-hitting mare based at Churchill Downs with Bill Mott assistant Ralph Nicks, is listed second at 118 in what shapes up as a solid field.

Veterans Craig Perret and Larry Melancon will ride Trip and Rose of Zollern, respectively.

The others in the HBPA are Fast Delivery, 114, James Lopez; Reflect the Music, 114, Calvin Borel; Maltese Superb, 113, Tony D'Amico; Teach, 112, Joe Judice; Endlessly, 111, Justin Vitek; Prized Ambition, 110, Terry Thompson; Silent Stream, 109, Ricky Moss; and Added Time, 109, Brian Peck.

Perhaps the sleeper of the group is Maltese Superb, a gray 4-year-old trained by Carl Bowman. Although she failed badly in the Grade 3 Fleur de Lis at Churchill in her last start, her previous race resulted in a smashing 9 1/2-length allowance score.

The HBPA formerly was the second of three legs in Ellis's annual series of filly-mare stakes, but the schedule has been reshuffled this year, leaving the HBPA as the lone lead-in to the meet highlight, the Grade 3 Gardenia Stakes. The $200,000, 1 1/8-mile Gardenia will be run Aug. 11.

First post Saturday is 12:40 p.m. Central.

- He Be Irish, with three-time defending riding champion Jon Court aboard, drove to a half-length victory in the opening-day feature Wednesday, a six-furlong allowance for older horses. He Be Irish, trained by Rick Hiles, returned $4.40 as favorite in a field of six.

- Ontrack attendance for the first of 41 Ellis programs was reported at 3,739.