10/20/2005 12:00AM

Yaddo's two winners face off in Ticonderoga


ELMONT, N.Y. - Kate Winslet and On the Bus won the split divisions of the Yaddo Handicap at Saratoga, and for two months since, fierce arguments have raged in the noted Saratoga Springs artists' retreat over who was better. They can put down their paintbrushes and stop fighting on Saturday, when Kate Winslet and On the Bus meet to settle that burning question in the $150,000 Ticonderoga Stakes at Belmont Park.

The Ticonderoga, at 1 1/8 miles on turf for older fillies and mares, is the seventh race on the New York Showcase card. It drew 16 runners, but only 10 will allowed to compete over the inner turf course. There are a pair of entries. His Beauty is coupled with Rahy's Appeal, though His Beauty needs to draw into the race. Beebe Lake and Little Buttercup are coupled, too.

drew clear for a 2 3/4-length victory in the second division of the Yadoo. That was her first win in six starts since being repatriated from France.

"She ran a very good race," said her trainer, Rick Violette Jr. "This distance is the same as the Yaddo, but it might be a little short of ideal for her. She did show a little turn of foot at Saratoga. She was kind of a grinder before. And if it rains, soft turf won't hurt her."

Kate Winslet, named for the actress, is a nervous, slightly built filly. "She's built more like Kate Moss than Kate Winslet," Violette cracked. "She's slim. She's improved significantly lately. She's been a challenge."

Kate Winslet drew post 3, whereas On the Bus landed on the outside, in post 10.

ran a full second faster than Kate Winslet in her division of the Yaddo, but the interior fractions of the race were significantly faster, too. On the Bus is the defending race-winner in the Ticonderoga. She has won 3 times in 6 starts over the Belmont turf.

was fourth behind Kate Winslet in the Yaddo, but her late run was compromised by the soft pace. She is reunited with jockey Jose Santos, who won the Ticonderoga with Lady Bi Bi in 2003. Lady Bi Bi has won four races on the Belmont turf, all with Santos aboard.

"She always runs for me," Santos said Thursday morning at Belmont Park. "The good thing about her is that she always tries. And she's better now than before."

, trained by Tom Bush, is rapidly improving and could be ready for a breakthrough performance. A lightly raced daughter of Royal Anthem, she lost by only a head to On the Bus in the Yaddo, then subsequently beat a statebred allowance field. She is favorably drawn in post 2.