SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y., AUG. 15 -- It has been a tough week for D. Wayne Lukas and the fillies he trains.

His champion Lady's Secret failed to finish a race as the 1-to-5 favorite. Then the country's best filly sprinter, Pine Tree Lane, was trounced at 4 to 5. Today Lukas appeared certain to end his bad luck as he sent the East's two best 3-year-old fillies into the $230,400 Alabama Stakes. The entry was a 2-to-5 favorite. But Lukas went down to another defeat, as Up the Apalachee led all the way to score a shocking upset over Without Feathers and Fiesta Gal.

The Lukas entry was the victim of some bad luck; Without Feathers' jockey Chris Antley dropped his whip just when he appeared to be taking command of the race. The entry may also have been the victim of some poor tactics.

Lukas appeared to have all the possibilities covered: Without Feathers has high speed and Fiesta Gal is a strong closer. Without Feathers figured to put pressure on the other speedsters in the field and set up the race for her stablemate.

Instead, Antley put his mount under restraint and let Jorge Velasquez and Up the Apalachee have an uncontested early lead. The front-runner zipped away to a seven-length lead after a half mile in a swift 46 2/5 seconds.

On the turn, Up the Apalachee seemed to be weakening, and Without Feathers drew alongside of her while Fiesta Gal launched her move on the far outside. Without Feathers looked as if she was going to cruise by the leader, but Antley dropped his whip at the head of the stretch. "Even though she's an honest filly," Antley said, "as a rider you sure like to have it {the whip}."

Without Feathers could never get past the leader, even though Up the Apalachee had virtually stopped to a walk, running the last quarter of a mile in 27 3/5 seconds.

Under the circumstances, Fiesta Gal should have rescued the favored entry, but she couldn't accelerate during the slow final quarter. She had been wildly overrated after winning two-thirds of New York's filly triple crown by beating weak fields in slow times.

Her failure to win this 1 1/4-mile race that was run in a mediocre 2:04 verified that she is no star. And neither is any other member of this generation of 3-year-old fillies.

Up the Apalachee is highly consistent -- today's victory was her 10th in 16 career starts. Although basically a sprinter or middle-distance horse, she can even go a long distance under the right circumstances, as she proved today.