03/24/2011 2:42PM

Aqueduct: Quiet Giant goes for fourth straight inner stakes win in Ladies


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – With three dominant stakes victories at Aqueduct this winter, Quiet Giant has certainly earned a shot at winning a graded event. But with limited opportunities at this time of the year, trainer Todd Pletcher has opted for one more inner track race before sending Quiet Giant out against stiffer competition.

An odds-on choice in her three inner track scores, Quiet Giant once again figures to a strong favorite in Saturday’s $100,000 Ladies Handicap, the final stakes to be run over the inner track this season. Six were entered for the 139th renewal of the Ladies, scheduled for 1 1/8 miles.

Quiet Giant, a half-sister to 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam, won two overnight stakes and then the Rare Treat by a combined 20 3/4 lengths. In her first two wins, she stalked one horse before taking over in the stretch and drawing clear authoritatively. In the Rare Treat, Quiet Giant got loose on the lead and won by nine lengths.

“She’s an extremely well-bred filly and stretching her out has been the key,’’ said Pletcher, who has won 14 stakes with 10 different horses here this winter. “She’s been very consistent; a couple of her races on the inner track this winter have been very good.’’

Quiet Giant has had rather simple trips in her three victories, all in which she has started from the outside post. Saturday, Quiet Giant breaks from the rail, has to concede five to eight pounds to her opponents, and will find a field seemingly filled with speed. One of those speed horses, Cody Samora, is not definite to run, according to trainer John Morrison.

The best closer in the field is R Betty Graybull, who tries 1 1/8 miles for the first time in her career. She won a pair of two-turn, one-mile races at Parx Racing and Aqueduct before running a disappointing sixth in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap going seven furlongs at Laurel Park.

Linda White, the trainer of R Betty Graybull, said she believes her filly didn’t handle the Laurel surface nor did she like being on the inside for so long. White is hoping her late-running filly gets some pace, which should be provided by Potosina and State Treasure.

“We certainly won’t be involved early, Betty runs her style,’’ White said. “If she’s going to fire, she’ll fire. I would have liked a mile and a sixteenth to try her long for the first time, but she looks like she handled the inner track so we’ll take a chance.’’

Speightful Affair, a supplemental nominee to the field, has shown improvement with the addition of blinkers.