02/23/2012 1:01PM

Aqueduct: Sweet Seventeen tries to avoid late fade in Busher

Barbara D. Livingston
Sweet Seventeen (right), who was run down by Captivating Lass in deep stretch of the Busanda. will try to make her speed last going two turns in Saturday's Busher.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Sweet Seventeen might have been her own worst enemy when she blew a two-length lead in the final furlong of last month’s Busanda Stakes at Aqueduct, a race she lost by a neck to Captivating Lass.

In what was her first start around two turns, Sweet Seventeen – the 4-5 favorite – had a little difficulty negotiating the first turn. In the stretch, she never switched to her correct lead, resulting in a bit of leg weariness that stopped her from offering any resistance when Captivating Lass came to her.

Saturday, the Maryland-based Sweet Seventeen returns to New York to try two turns again when she faces six other 3-year-old fillies in the $75,000 Busher Stakes at Aqueduct.

Graham Motion, the trainer of Sweet Seventeen, said lead changes have been problematic for his filly all along.

“She’s always been slow to do it,” said Motion, who trains Sweet Seventeen for Debby Oxley. “She’s been much better about it in the mornings. Certainly, it’s going to cost her races and it probably cost her the last race.”

Having drawn the rail for the second straight race, Sweet Seventeen will likely employ the same front-running tactics in the Busher she used in the Busanda. Alan Garcia rides Sweet Seventeen, replacing Ramon Dominguez, who will be at Gulfstream on Saturday.

WinStar Farm’s coupled entry of Lisa T., trained by Todd Pletcher, and Off Limits, trained by Bill Mott, looks formidable. Lisa T. a half-sister to 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, should appreciate stretching back out in distance following a third-place finish in the six-furlong Dearly Precious. Her maiden win came around two turns.

Off Limits returns to New York after finishing fourth, beaten one length, in her two-turn debut in an allowance race at Gulfstream. In that race, she got shuffled back around the turn, but rallied again when finding room along the rail.

“She didn’t have the greatest trip, had a little traffic but still ran okay,’’ Mott said. “I thought this would be a better spot for her than the Davona Dale. The main thing is she shipped up there a few days ago. If she gets over the strip in good order, she ought to run well.”

While Darley Stable won’t have Captivating Lass to run against Sweet Seventeen, it will send out Better Lucky, who makes her two-turn debut in the Busher. Better Lucky won at first asking sprinting over the inner track in December before finishing fifth to Agave Kiss in the Ruthless on Jan. 14.

In addition to stretching out in distance, Better Lucky will race on Lasix for the first time for trainer Tom Albertrani.

Plum, a winner of three straight at Laurel; Marvelous Margaret, a recent maiden winner sprinting; and Super Quiet, a last-out allowance winner around two turns at Laurel, complete the field.

Busher S., Post Time: 4:05 ET Saturday

Purse: $75,000; 1 1/16 miles





ML Odds


Lisa T.

T. Pletcher

C. Velasquez



Off Limits

W. Mott

J. Alvarado



Sweet Seventeen

H. Motion

A. Garcia



Marvelous Margaret

C. Martin

R. Curatolo



Better Lucky

T. Albertrani

E. Castro




R. Jenkins

T. Dunkelberger



Super Quiet

G. Wood, II

G. Delgado