04/07/2011 2:46PM

Aqueduct's Comely has evenly matched field


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – “Throw a blanket over them” is a racetrack phrase that fits the Grade 3, $150,000 Comely Stakes, a one-turn mile that leads off Saturday’s all-stakes pick four with a guaranteed pool of $500,000.

Post time for the Comely is 4:09 p.m. Eastern.

Five of the seven 3-year-old fillies have earned virtually identical Beyer Figure tops, and Ava K., Her Smile, Hot Summer, R Holiday Moon, and Royal Sighting have all been on the early lead in at least one of their last two starts.

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Further complicating the pace picture is Mysterious Chimes, an Oaklawn Park shipper who may be quickest of all leaving the chute.

“She has three good, sharp six-furlong races in her,” trainer Benard Chatters said. “The one thing that scares me is how they sometimes build a lot of speed racing down these long straightaways.”

Ava K. has swept three starts on the inner track at odds-on, including the Proud Puppy overnight stakes last time out. Now she gets a class check and will try to emulate R Betty Graybull and Inherit the Gold – New York-breds who beat open company in the Ladies and the Excelsior the last two Saturdays.

Trainer Mike Hushion said the Comely was an obvious next step after the Proud Puppy.

“After the (Proud Puppy overnight stakes) we decided this would be the obvious next step,” said trainer Mike Hushion.Her Smile a three-time winner for the husband-and-wife team of Arnaud and Leigh Delacour, makes her third start of the year after leading to the stretch of the Florida Oaks and rallying wide for third in the Suncoast Stakes.

“She fits in the race − the filly who won the Suncoast is going in the Ashland, and the second finisher is a stakes winner,” said Arnaud Delacour, a former assistant for Christophe Clement. “She shipped Monday to Fair Hill and has trained the last two days; she was full of life [Thursday] morning.”

The Todd Pletcher-trained R Holiday Mood comes off a pair of hard-fought victories going long on the inner track: a maiden win over Royal Sighting, who subsequently graduated by better than a dozen lengths for Pat Kelly, and the Out Ruled overnight stakes.

“She seemed to handle added distance fine,” Pletcher said. “I think it was more about the added ground than it was the two turns. I think she’s versatile enough. She doesn’t need to be on the lead.”

Royal Sighting is the lone entrant with two 80-plus Beyers, but this will be her first start against winners.

Hot Summer comes off a pacesetting try for David Fawkes in the Grade 2 Davona Dale. She is the only runner with graded stakes experience.

Vixen’s Roar, a Gary Contessa-trained maiden winner over Royal Sighting two starts back, completes the field.

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