08/03/2005 11:00PM

Unbridled Danz needs her best


It might be said that the first two races for Unbridled Danz were twins. Both were routes on the Arlington Park turf course, both resulted in victories from just off the pace by identical four-length margins, and both graded out with a Beyer Speed Figure in the 80's.

Horseplayers might now be wondering if triplets are in store. If so, Unbridled Danz, trained by Becky Maker, would have to be considered one of the main contenders Saturday when shipping in from Chicago for the $75,000 Audubon Oaks, the feature race at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky.

Unbridled Danz, a $350,000 yearling purchase for owner Stan Fulton, is one of 12 3-year-old fillies set to run in the Audubon Oaks at 1 1/16 miles on grass. Clearly, she has been impressive in winning her first two starts, but she will have to run perhaps her best race yet when she faces what is her strongest competition to date.

Foremost among her deep cast of challengers are Royal Bean, Yes Beth, Khayelitsha, and Cleft.

Royal Bean is one of the horses Dale Romans left behind at Churchill Downs when he took a string of nearly 40 to Saratoga. Third in the Grade 3 Regret at Churchill in her last start, Royal Bean might be deserving of favoritism Saturday.

Yes Beth, trained by Steve Flint, was an easy winner at odds-on in her last start, a July 20 allowance prep at Ellis.

Khayelitsha has never raced on grass but has never finished worse than third in her six career starts. Moreover, she is trained by Larry Jones, whose stable is off to a solid start at Ellis and recently won the $1 million Delaware Handicap with Island Sand.

Cleft, trained by Steve Penrod, won a Churchill allowance two starts back and would appear to merit a modicum of respect.

The Audubon Oaks is carded as the 10th of 11 races on a card that starts at 12:40 p.m. Central.

* In the eighth race, seven turf veterans will clash in the secondary feature, the $35,000 Mythical Ruler Handicap. Parker Run and Atticus Kristy look like the horses to beat in the 5 1/2-furlong turf race.

* The leading rider at the Ellis meet, Jesus Castanon, escaped injury Wednesday, when his mount, Rather Have Rubies, broke down in midstretch during the sixth race, a turf allowance. Rather Have Rubies, trained by Nick Canani, had to be euthanized.