Updated on 09/16/2011 8:14AM

You answers the call

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You looked fabulous winning the Acorn (on rail, above), but then ran a dull third in the Alabama.

ELMONT, N.Y. - When Mike Lakow, the racing secretary for the New York Racing Association, learned after the Alabama that Bobby Frankel was planning to give You the remainder of the year off, he got on the phone to the Hall of Fame trainer.

Though the Grade 1 Ruffian was still four weeks away, Lakow suspected the race wouldn't come up too strong and told Frankel he should reconsider. You remained in training and though the race is coming up tougher than Lakow may have let on, Frankel goes into Saturday's $300,000 Ruffian Handicap with confidence.

In her first start against older fillies and mares, You will face multiple Grade 1 winners Raging Fever and Shine Again, the battle-toughened sprinter Mandy's Gold, and the improving Minister's Baby. Combined, that quartet has won 36 of 74 starts and earned more than $2.9 million.

"It's not that tough," Frankel said. "They're good horses, but they're no better than she is. And the distance is within her realm, that's the main thing."

The Ruffian is one of four graded stakes on Saturday's 10-race card at Belmont on an important weekend as far as next month's World Thoroughbred Championships at Arlington Park is concerned. Also on Saturday's card are the $200,000 Belmont Breeders' Cup Handicap, the $150,000 Jerome Handicap, and the $100,000 Floral Park at six furlongs.

The Ruffian is run at 1 1/16 miles, a distance at which You won the Grade 1 Frizette here last fall by 6 1/4 lengths.

The 10 furlongs of the Alabama combined with the wet Saratoga track may have contributed to You's third-place finish behind Farda Amiga and Allamerican Bertie. Edgar Prado, subbing for an out-of-town Jerry Bailey that day, told Frankel that You did not handle the wet track. Saturday, You will be reunited with Bailey and will break from post 3 under 117 pounds.

Frankel thought the Alabama, on top of You's hard-fought victory in the Grade 1 Test Stakes on July 27, may have knocked the filly out.

"Maybe it did, but she hasn't shown it," Frankel said. "It hasn't knocked her out of the feed tub, she's eating really well. She hasn't taken a backward step."

Raging Fever, who some view as a sprinter, is a multiple Grade 1 winner at 1 1/16 miles, having taken the 2001 Frizette and the Hempstead Handicap in June. Trainer Mark Hennig is looking forward to running Raging Fever against You. Raging Fever, the 120-pound highweight, will break from the rail under John Velazquez.

"You's a nice filly, and we get to see how the 3-year-olds stack up against the older mares," Hennig said. "I like the way [Raging Fever] ran the last time she ran 1 1/16 miles."

Raging Fever last raced in the seven-furlong Ballerina Handicap, where she had to go after the speedy Mandy's Gold earlier than Velazquez may have wanted. It left her vulnerable to a late move from Shine Again, who passed Raging Fever late to win the Ballerina by a half-length.

Shine Again and Mandy's Gold will try to show they are more than just sprinters. Shine Again did win a Maryland-bred race at 1 1/16 miles, but this field is much tougher.

Minister's Baby is the lone true router in the field, and may offer the most value. She has won four of her last six starts, including the Grade 3 Gardenia Handicap at Ellis from which the runner-up, Lakenheath, came back to win the Arlington Matron.

Trainer Ken McPeek's only concern is whether the track will be speed-favoring, like it was last Saturday. Minister's Baby prefers to come from off the pace.

"She can lay close if she has to," McPeek said, adding that Minister's Baby is feeling confident. "You run them in spot like this when you think they're doing well."

The Ruffian and Jerome will be recapped during ESPN's one-hour coverage of Sunday's Grade 1 Matron Stakes for juvenile fillies from Belmont at 3 p.m. Eastern. Also Sunday, CNBC will televise the Grade 1 Futurity for juvenile colts, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Eastern.