04/01/2003 12:00AM

Yell vs. Lady Tak a dandy


LAS VEGAS - A.P. Indy is on a roll this year with leading runners in many divisions.

Atswhatimtalknbout heads the Santa Anita Derby on Saturday. A.P. Indy's other 3-year-old colts include Indy Dancer, who will once again try Empire Maker in the Wood Memorial Stakes, and the lightly raced Political Risk, who is doubtful for the Derby but could be a force later in the year.

A.P. Indy's older runners include Mineshaft, impressive winner of the New Orleans Handicap who has found a home on dirt after a turf career in Europe, and Olmodavor, another late-blooming colt who ran second to Mineshaft in the New Orleans Handicap after finishing second to Medaglia d'Oro in the Strub Stakes.

And then there is Yell, who joins the very deep 3-year-old filly division. Although Composure was injured and retired, this division still has Storm Flag Flying, Elloluv, and Lady Tak. Yell has come to hand very quickly for Shug McGaughey, and her Davona Dale Stakes victory was eye-catching. A showdown between Yell and undefeated Lady Tak in Saturday's Ashland Stakes at Keeneland may upstage the weekend's three big preps for 3-year-olds - the Santa Anita Derby, Illinois Derby, and Aventura Stakes.

Yell is out of stakes winner Wild Applause, a full sister to stakes winner Hero's Honor and a half-sister to Kentucky Derby winner Sea Hero. Yell's second dam is Glowing Tribute, the 1993 Broodmare of the Year. Clearly, Yell has no limits.

Lady Tak is by Mutakddim, who was group placed at 4 in England and France. With only three crops to race, Mutakddim is the sire of multiple stakes winner Hattiesburg, as well many group winners in Argentina.

Mutakddim has an all-Phipps pedigree, top and bottom. By Seeking the Gold, he's out of the Seattle Slew mare Oscillate, a half-sister to 2-year-old champion Rhythm and a daughter of stakes winner Dance Number. Mutakddim's third dam is 2-year-old champion Numbered Account, one of the best racemares and broodmares bred and raced by the Phipps family.

Lady Tak's female family is just as prominent. Her second dam, Dangerous Star (Dark Star), is a full sister to the stakes winning sisters Heavenly Body and Hidden Talent, the dam of the very influential stakes winner Too Bald, who became a legendary broodmare. Too Bald produced five stakes winners, Exceller, Capote, Baldski, American Standard, and Vaguely Hidden.

Another daughter, Bald Facts, produced stakes winners Fortunate Facts and General Royal. Stakes winners D'Hallevant, Minister's Melody, and Lake Country also descend from Too Bald.

Coming-out party

All eyes this weekend will be squarely focused on the Santa Anita Derby, and in particular, on Atswhatimtalknbout. A colt of considerable talent, the Santa Anita Derby should be for Atswhatimtalknbout what the Florida Derby was for Empire Maker. Atswhatimtalknbout will have no excuses on Saturday, and a breakthrough effort will set him up for a classic confrontation with Empire Maker in the Kentucky Derby.

While not a serious candidate at 1 1/4 miles, Kafwain still looms large for the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby. A son of Cherokee Run, his high class has enabled him to perform well at nine furlongs, and he is a much stronger colt than he was when he finished second to Vindication in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile at the Santa Anita Derby distance. Unsuited to distances beyond 1 1/8 miles, consider this race as Kafwain's Derby.

Aside from Atswhatimtalknbout, the colt with the most upside is Ministers Wild Cat, trained by Neil Drysdale. A much better racing prospect than Drysdale's overhyped Sunday Break last year, Ministers Wild Cat is still a work in progress and owns a formidable pedigree. By Deputy Minister, one of the world's most successful sires, he is out of champion Hollywood Wildcat, who has become as prolific a broodmare as she was a racehorse.

Ministers Wild Cat is a half-brother to War Chant (Danzig), who was soundly beaten in the 2000 Kentucky Derby but returned to win the Breeders' Cup Mile.

Logician is sure to be overlooked in this spot and will offer great value. Logician finished fourth in the San Felipe Stakes, only two lengths behind Buddy Gil, Atswhatimtalknbout, and Brancusi. By stamina influence Tabasco Cat, winner of the 1994 Preakness and Belmont Stakes, Logician comes from a female family of high quality.

Logician is a half-brother to Apelia, a multiple stakes winning filly by sprint influence Cool Victor. Logician's second dam, Street Ballet (Nijinsky II), produced stakes sprinter and sire Ponche (Two Punch). Street Ballet's dam is multiple stakes winner and producer Street Dancer. A full sister to Kentucky Oaks winner Native Street, Street Dancer is the key to Logician's class.

Native Street was one of the best fillies from the amazing crop of 1963, which included Moccasin, Lady Pitt, Natashka, Destro, Justakiss, Politely, Prides Profile, Spearfish (a full sister to Gummo), and Marking Time, the second dam of Easy Goer.

Logician is currently 200-1 at Bally's future book, but those odds could drop dramatically after Saturday.