07/01/2004 11:00PM

Yell has right trainer for race

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OCEANPORT, N. J. - Trying to come up with the winner of Sunday's $300,000 Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Handicap, a competitive Grade 2 event with a race flow that's difficult to plot, is exasperating. Given the history of the race, however, one obvious contender emerges.

Why not Yell?

Trainer Shug McGaughey, a five-time winner of this race, will be represented by Yell in Sunday's Molly Pitcher, the 10th of 11 races on the card. McGaughey first won the race in 1988 with eventual Hall of Fame member Personal Ensign, before scoring with Versailles Treaty (1992), Inside Information (1995), Rare Blend (1997), and Atelier (2002).

"I've always thought it came up at a good time in the schedule for older fillies and mares," said McGaughey of the Molly Pitcher, which is run at 1 1/8 miles.

A daughter of A.P. Indy, Yell is certainly talented enough to join that accomplished cast, but to do so she'll have to rebound from a subpar effort in her latest race, the Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill Downs. Sent off as the 2-1 favorite, Yell was beaten 10 lengths by the winner, Adoration.

"I don't know what happened in that one," said McGaughey. "It was extremely hot, so maybe that bothered her some, but whether it was that or not I just don't know."

In Sunday's race, which has a field of six, Yell will face a couple of runners who beat her in the Fleur de Lis, Bare Necessities and La Reason, who finished second and third in the race. Bare Necessities, a five-time stakes winner now based with trainer Frank Kirby in Illinois, figures to challenge Yell for favoritism Sunday.

"She's feeling good," said Kirby's assistant, Socorro Flores, who accompanied Bare Necessities on her flight from Kentucky. "She's a real handful all the time."

Bare Necessities has a touch of early speed, but she's best when she's able to stalk the leaders. That could prove to be a disadvantage, however, as she'll spot position to those runners with a little more speed.

That includes Smok'n Frolic, who won the 2001 Demoiselle and the 2003 Next Move using front-running tactics, and those two stakes were also run at 1 1/8 miles. Pocus Hocus, who comes into the Molly Pitcher off a game pace-prompting win in the Monmouth Beach Stakes, is another who could benefit from moderate fractions.

Fircroft and Queen's Triomphe are the other entrants in the Molly Pitcher. First post is 12:55 p.m.