07/29/2004 12:00AM

Who likes soft turf?

Intercontinental, exercising Wednesday with Jose Cuevas, is the likely favorite in the Diana.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - To say that the field for Saturday's $500,000 at Saratoga is accomplished would be an understatement.

The seven fillies and mares entered in the Grade 1 Diana have $3,891,101 in combined earnings and have won 14 graded stakes among them. Three others, Buy the Sport, Nevermore, and Alchemist were entered for the main track only.

The Grade 1 Diana, at 1 1/8 miles on the turf, shares the card with the Grade 1 Test, a seven-furlong dirt race for 3-year-old fillies. The Diana and Test will be telecast on ESPN2 between 4 and 5 p.m. Eastern.

The Diana is run under allowance conditions, and Intercontinental and Wonder Again tote 120 pounds as the co-highweights. The other runners carry 118 pounds. Rain caused the cancellation of turf racing on Wednesday and Thursday. With more wet weather possible for Friday and Saturday, the turf doesn't figure to be firm for the Diana.

Intercontinental, the likely favorite, is undefeated since coming to this country last year from France. In three starts for trainer Bobby Frankel, Intercontinental won an allowance race and two stakes, the Grade 3 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland and the Grade 2 Just a Game Breeders' Cup at Belmont Park.

The Diana will be Intercontinental's first start beyond 1 1/16 miles.

"The only knock against her is that she pulls in her races," said Frankel, who won the Diana in 2001 with Starine and in 2002 with Tates Creek. "It's hard to pull as hard as she does and finish, but when you ask her, she still gives it to you, and very few horses do that. With each race she seems to relax better."

Intercontinental drew post 3 and will be ridden by Jerry Bailey.

Wonder Again's trainer, Jim Toner, is delighted with the prospect of a yielding or soft course. In her last start, Wonder Again won the Grade 2 New York Handicap over a soft course by 3 1/4 lengths at Belmont Park on July 5. She won two races at Saratoga in 2002 over yielding courses, including the Grade 2 Lake Placid.

In last year's Diana, Wonder Again finished fifth over a firm course.

"Let's just say I'm not upset with the prospect of a soft course," said Toner, who won the 1998 Diana with Memories of Silver. "She likes Saratoga. Last year, nothing went right for us [at Saratoga], but she's here now with the win in New York. We're off to a better start."

Edgar Prado rides Wonder Again from post 4.

Ocean Drive is in top form for trainer Todd Pletcher and enters the Diana off an easy win in the Grade 3 Eatontown at Monmouth. Although she meets a much tougher bunch Saturday, Ocean Drive's length loss to Intercontinental in the Jenny Wiley suggests she fits here.

Riskaverse tops the field in earnings with $1,017,706. She is coming off a sub-par effort in the Grade 3 Locust Grove at Churchill in June. The Locust Grove was her second start after 6 1/2 months off.

"Maybe she needed another race off the break," said Pat Kelly, Riskaverse's trainer.

Trainer Tony Reinstedler changed his mind and entered Sand Springs, who won the Lake Placid here last year, after originally planning to run her in the Beverly D. at Arlington on Aug. 14.

"It's a small field and it's easier than shipping," Reinstedler said.

Spice Island's trainer, John Pregman Jr., would like a cool day for his mare. The temperatures are expected to be in the mid-80's on Saturday. In her last start, she finished third as the favorite in the New York Handicap when the temperature was in the low 80's.

"We shipped her from Aqueduct to Belmont and she washed out a couple of times; the heat got to her," Pregman said. "She seems to like the cooler weather. She really did well from September on last year."

Halory Leigh, second in her turf debut in the Locust Grove, completes the field.