02/15/2002 12:00AM

The Very One? Team Bailey


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Two years ago trainer Christophe Clement and jockey Jerry Bailey joined forces to win Gulfstream Park's $100,000 The Very One Handicap with Innuendo. On Saturday the same team is a good bet to duplicate that result with Innuendo's baby sister Moon Queen, who will face just five rivals in the 1 3/8-mile turf race for older fillies and mares.

Moon Queen will be making only her second start in this country and first since having been transferred to Clement's barn after her fifth-place finish in the Grade 2 Long Island Handicap on Nov. 10. A daughter of Sadler's Wells and Infamy, Moon Queen set a pressured pace in the Long Island before succumbing gradually through the final furlong. She had won her previous two starts, including the Group 2 Prix de Royallieu Stakes at Longchamp before shipping to the U.S. this fall.

"She's training great, I'm really excited at how she's been doing," said Clement, who also will send out Summer Solstice in The Very One.

"I didn't have her at the time but I thought she ran a very good race considering she was challenged on the lead in her first start in this country," he said.

Moon Queen figures to have things pretty much her own way on the front end in The Very One if Clement and Bailey want to put her on the lead, as expected, with only Sweetest Thing seemingly capable of offering a serious early challenge.

Sweetest Thing overcame an eventful start to finish a game second behind the late-striding Queue in the Long Island Handicap. She then shipped south and finished second again, beaten a neck by Krisada, to close out her 2001 campaign in Calder's Grade 2 La Prevoyante Handicap on Dec. 29. Like both Moon Queen and Summer Solstice, Sweetest Thing has been legging up for her 2002 debut at Payson Park.

Queue has trained steadily and well over the local turf course since finishing seventh as the 2-1 favorite in the La Prevoyante. She had rallied from next-to-last to register the biggest win of her career seven weeks earlier in the Long Island Handicap, but her running style could put her at the mercy of a potentially slow pace on Sunday.

"She's got a big stretch charge and when she can keep out of trouble and get a good trip she can beat anyone," said Queue's trainer, Vinnie Blengs. "She didn't run her race at Calder where the tight turns really do not suit her style."

Edgar Prado will ride Queue.