09/28/2012 3:44PM

Belmont: Matron should see Kauai Katie up front

Barbara D. Livingston
Kauai Katie followed up her debut victory by winning the Grade 2 Adirondack.

ELMONT, N.Y. – With the luxury of having a true route horse like Dreaming of Julia in the barn, it gives the connections of Kauai Katie the opportunity to let her doing what she does best.

Thus, for at least the time being, Kauai Katie will be kept sprinting and she is strictly the one to beat in Sunday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Matron Stakes at Belmont Park. The Matron, run at six furlongs, shares billing with the Grade 2, $200,000 Futurity for 2-year-old males on the 10-race card.

Kauai Katie is owned by Stonestreet Stables and trained by Todd Pletcher, who also have Dreaming of Julia, a recent 16 1/4-length winner of an overnight stakes at a mile. Dreaming of Julia is pointing to next Saturday’s Grade 1 Frizette, also here at a mile.

Pletcher said Kauai Katie is “a gifted sprinter. I think she’ll get up to a mile, but we’re fortunate to have the other filly so we can sort of separate them to their strengths. I guess we’ll have maybe a decision to make after this of whether or not she would try to stretch out to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies or run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint or not in either.”

Kauai Katie, a daughter of Malibu Moon, won her debut going 5 1/2 furlongs on opening day at Saratoga by 12 lengths before coming back 23 days later to take the Grade 2 Adirondack at 6 1/2 furlongs by 2 3/4 lengths.

“She handled the stretchout to 6 1/2, and she set some pretty fast fractions and kept going,” Pletcher said.

Kauai Katie had an inside post in each of her first two starts but will break from the outside post in this six-horse field under Rosie Napravnik. Still, Pletcher has a hard time believing Kauai Katie will be anywhere but on the lead on Sunday.

“I think she’s adaptable to pace scenario, but she’s also naturally fast enough where it’s unlikely there’ll be too many in front of her,” Pletcher said.

Pletcher also sends out Unabashed, who overcame a slow start under John Velazquez to win her debut by 4 1/2 lengths on Aug. 17 at Saratoga.

“When she broke a half-step slow I was concerned she wouldn’t adapt to it,” Pletcher said. “She actually adapted very well. She sat behind horses, took some dirt, and Johnny had to wait for a while for a seam and he found one – she seemed to accelerate.”

Unabashed, a daughter of Elusive Quality, will break from the rail.

Seasoned Warrior, who disappointed when fourth in the Grade 1 Spinaway, cuts back to six furlongs, a distance at which she was a front-running maiden winner on Aug. 12. Doubled, the Sorority winner; Sweet Shirley Mae, runner-up to So Many Ways in the Spinaway; and Baby J complete the field.