01/26/2012 2:06PM

Aqueduct: Pletcher-trained Katy Now, Love and Pride control speed in Affectionately

Barbara D. Livingston
Love and Pride is ideally drawn inside to capitalize on her speed in the Affectionately.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Todd Pletcher-trained horses figure prominently in both stakes on Saturday’s 10-race card at Aqueduct, as Katy Now and Love and Pride loom the main speed of the Affectionately, and Heart Butte defends his title in a redrawn Evening Attire that was snowed out last Saturday.

In the Affectionately, which is race 8 and the second leg of a late pick four with a $250,000 guarantee, Pletcher’s uncoupled pair of Katy Now and Love and Pride drew the two inside posts. They are likely to get the jump on their four rivals - Bahama Bound, Indian Burn, Orbiston Parva, and Bahia Beach.

Katy Now has been the pace-call leader in four of her last six starts, the latest when 6-5 in the Ladies Handicap but unable to hang on at 1 1/8 miles.

“[She] seems to have distance limitations,” said assistant trainer Michael McCarthy.

With the exception of the Grade 2 Cotillion when outrun for the lead by Plum Pretty, Love and Pride has made the front without fail since equipped with blinkers last July, but has backed up late four straight times, and was a well-beaten third in an overnight stakes first time on the inner track.

“She had everything her way, but she just didn’t run the kind of race she can run,” said assistant Whit Beckman.

Although listed as the 15-1 outsider, Bahia Beach rates a look after a big allowance win sprinting at Charles Town, for which she earned a Beyer Figure of 89 – the best of her career, and the top last-out figure in the field.

“I think she’ll like the inner track and that she wants more distance,” said trainer Jeff Runco. “This is definitely a step up, but when these fillies get good, it’s a good time to try stepping up.”

Orbiston Parva ships in from Parx Racing, where she is a nose away from a 9-for-9 record on dirt for Ramon Preciado since November 2010.