06/02/2004 11:00PM

Two Frankel turfers in Just a Game


ELMONT, N.Y. - It's tough enough to compete against trainer Bobby Frankel when he has one of his female turf runners in a stakes race. It's double trouble in Saturday's $250,000 Just a Game Breeders' Cup Handicap at Belmont Park, in which Frankel sends out the Juddmonte Farms-owned entry of .

Frankel gave Jerry Bailey his pick of the two. Bailey sided with Intercontinental, who has won both her starts since arriving from Europe, including Keeneland's Jenny Wiley Stakes. Etoile Montante, a narrow loser in the Argent Mortgage Stakes at Churchill Downs five weeks ago, will be ridden by Alex Solis.

"They're both good fillies," Ron Anderson, Bailey's agent, said Thursday morning. "Jerry thought Intercontinental might be slightly better in this race because she likes some give in the ground, and there's been some give in the ground here lately. But it's a close call."

Intercontinental "ran a great race at Keeneland," Frankel said. He said he was stunned Etoile Montante was defeated at Churchill. "I don't know how she got beat," he said.

The Grade 2 Just a Game, at one mile, lured several other well-regarded runners. Dedication is being wheeled back one week after finishing second against males in the Jaipur Handicap. Grade 1 winners and familiar rivals Riskaverse and Wonder Again, now age 5, are making their first starts of the year. And Fast Cookie steps up in class after an overpowering victory against allowance runners in her first start on turf.

There are familiar themes in this year's Just a Game. Riskaverse was second, and Wonder Again third, in last year's Just a Game, which was won by Mariensky - who is trained by Christophe Clement, the trainer of Dedication.

Wonder Again, who won just once in six starts last year after winning 4 of 8 as a 3-year-old, was given another year on the track because "last year was a screwy year. She never got in sync," said her trainer, Jimmy Toner. "She deserves another shot."