10/25/2005 11:00PM

BC Distaff: Everything falls Happy Ticket's way


ELMONT, N.Y. - It was the perfect morning for trainer Andy Leggio on Wednesday. The rain that soaked the track on Tuesday yielded to a sunny, blustery day, his filly Happy Ticket turned in an eye-catching workout in preparation for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff on Saturday at Belmont Park, and then Happy Ticket drew the cozy post 7 when 13 were entered in the 1 1/8-mile race.

Happy Ticket appeared to gain a tactical advantage over many of her rivals when posts were drawn. Three of the race's top contenders - Society Selection, Stellar Jayne, and Ashado - drew the three inside posts, in that order.

"In a perfect world, I'd have liked to have been farther out," said Todd Pletcher, who trains Ashado, the defending Distaff winner. "But at least she's outside Stellar Jayne, who looks like the other main speed."

Happy Ticket most recently finished second to Ashado Oct. 1 in the Beldame Stakes, which, like the Distaff, is at 1 1/8 miles. Happy Ticket, who was bred and began her career in Louisiana, remained at Belmont Park to train up to the Distaff, and completed her preparations with a sharp half-mile work in 46.56 seconds on a muddy training track Wednesday.

"You can't go any better," Leggio said as Happy Ticket walked off the training track after the work. "She looked like she wasn't even running."

Leggio decided to work Happy Ticket on the training track, as he did on Oct. 16, because he thought it was in better condition on Wednesday than the main track. When Leggio gave a leg up to jockey Channing Hill, who worked Happy Ticket, he told Hill to "take it real easy with her" and "let her do what she wants to do."

Even though Happy Ticket turned in a fast time, she appeared to be going well within herself, and Leggio seemed absolutely delighted with the move.

Eric Donovan, the line-maker at Belmont Park, made Ashado the 2-1 favorite, with Stellar Jayne next at 5-1, and Happy Ticket at 6-1. The Head2Head wager in this race will be Healthy Addiction vs. Sweet Symphony.

Ashado will be trying to join Bayakoa as the only two-time winner of the Distaff.

Pletcher also entered Capeside Lady, who was third in the Spinster Stakes last out. She is a wet-track specialist who has won 5 of 6 starts on off tracks, but appears to be a longshot in this field - unless it rains.

"She would improve on an off track, but she's running no matter what," Pletcher said.

The field

Breeders' Cup Distaff
Purse: $2 million; 1 1/8 miles; Grade 1

1Society SelectionE. Prado1238-1
2Stellar JayneF. Dettori1235-1
3AshadoJ. Velazquez1232-1
4Nothing But FunA. Solis12030-1
5Yolanda B. TooE. Coa12030-1
6Healthy AddictionG. Gomez12310-1
7Happy TicketV. Espinoza1236-1
8Island FashionR. Bejarano12312-1
9Hollywood StoryP. Valenzuela12320-1
10In the GoldG. Stevens12020-1
11Pleasant HomeC. Velasquez12320-1
12Sweet SymphonyJ. Bailey1208-1
13Capeside LadyC. DeCarlo12330-1

* Track odds