01/13/2006 12:00AM

Ashado's brother tough


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Racing featuring 3-year-olds will again take center stage at Gulfstream Park on Sunday with a pair of first-level allowance races highlighting a 10-race program.

As will likely be the case for much of the meet, trainer Todd Pletcher will hold the upper hand in both events, each of which carries a $33,000 purse.

Pletcher will send out Sunriver, a full brother to his champion filly Ashado, in the seventh race, which drew a field of nine going 1 1/8 miles.

Sunriver finished second in his debut, then returned to beat Achilles of Troy by a neck to win his maiden going 1 1/8 miles five weeks later. That performance looks even better after Achilles of Troy posted a 14-length victory in last weekend's Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct.

"He's improved a lot the last three to four months, and I'm really happy to get a mile-and-one-eighth race to go," said Pletcher. "I really didn't want to have to back him up to a mile."

Pletcher's chief concern is the fact that Sunriver must break from post 9, the far outside.

"With the short run to the first turn, you've got to be much the best to win from out there going a mile and one-eighth," said Pletcher.

, a 3 1/4-length winner going 1 1/16 miles at Calder.

Pletcher also drew the outside post with in a full field of 12 slated to go a mile in the ninth race. A son of Unbridled's Song out of the graded-stakes winner Regally Appealing, Mantoloking launched his career with a 2 3/4-length victory at Aqueduct on Nov. 5.

"He ran very well in his first start and I expect him to improve with his second," said Pletcher. "I also see no reason why he shouldn't handle a mile. And unlike the mile-and-one-eighth race, I'm not too concerned drawing the outside post since there's enough time down the backstretch for him to get into striking position before they reach the turn."

Zito may again provide the major opposition with the uncoupled pair of Nar and Ice N Lemon. The field also includes Barbican, who earned a 92 Beyer winning his maiden at Calder, and Laptop Computer, who posted a 90 Beyer in his maiden win.