09/06/2001 11:00PM

Voodoo Dancer tries to bounce back


ELMONT, N.Y. - With few Grade 1 opportunities for 3-year-old fillies on turf, and with no dominant horse in the division, it came as no surprise that 14 were entered for Sunday's $250,000 Garden City Breeders' Cup Handicap at Belmont Park.

Only 10 will be permitted to run in the Garden City, run at nine furlongs on the inner turf course.

Voodoo Dancer, a daughter of Kingmambo trained by Christophe Clement, figures to go off a slight favorite in the Garden City. After winning three stakes and finishing second in another, Voodoo Dancer shipped to California where she finished fourth as the favorite in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks.

Aside from Voodoo Dancer racing closer to the pace than usual, Clement could not find a reason for Voodoo Dancer's 2 1/2-length defeat. Voodoo Dancer had won a division of the Lake George 19 days earlier at Saratoga.

"She ran okay," said Clement of Voodoo Dancer's race in the Del Mar Oaks. "She had just run and I shipped her. Maybe it was too close. She's been training great and she looks great."

Corey Nakatani, who rode Voodoo Dancer to victory in the Flawlessly at Hollywood Park, comes in for the ride. Voodoo Dancer is the highweight of 120 pounds, spotting her opponents three to seven pounds. She will run on Lasix for the first time Sunday.

Clement will also be represented by Sheppard's Watch, a listed stakes winner in England who makes her North American debut in the Garden City. A daughter of Night Shift, Sheppard's Watch has impressed Clement with her training. Richard Migliore will ride from post 10.

Allen Jerkens, a three-time winner of this race when it was named the Rare Perfume and run on dirt, sends out the coupled entry of Fiddle and Shooting Party. Fiddle is coming off a fifth-place finish behind Voodoo Dancer in the slower division of the Lake George. Shooting Party, a daughter of turf champion Sky Classic, would be making her turf debut, but landed three deep on the also-eligible list.

Wander Mom, a two-time winner at nine furlongs, should be a factor late. She finished a solid second behind loose-on-the-lead winner Snow Dance in the Lake Placid Handicap and should move forward in her second start off a layoff.

Platinum Tiara is another who figures to improve second time off a layoff. She may have raced too close to the pace before tiring to fourth in the Lake Placid in her first start for trainer Neil Howard.

"If she can relax a little bit this time we should be in a little better shape," Howard said.