06/27/2013 2:49PM

Belmont Park: Pletcher has three for Victory Ride

Barbara D. Livingston
Kauai Katie stumbled at the start of the Acorn, found herself behind a crowd of horses for the first time, and ran third.

Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Victory Ride Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park goes through the Todd Squad, as Todd Pletcher sends out the favored Stonestreet Stables entry of Kauai Katie and Teen Pauline, as well as second choice Fusaichiswonderful.

Fusaichiswonderful won four graded stakes in Puerto Rico, but otherwise Kauai Katie boasts all four of the field’s graded stakes wins on the mainland, having garnered the Adirondack and Matron as a juvenile, and the Old Hat and Forward Gal at Gulfstream Park in January.

Given a break after the Forward Gal, Kauai Katie returned at Aqueduct on April 21 and had what amounted to a public workout, winning an overnight stakes handily at 1-20. The speedy filly subsequently drew the rail for the Acorn, in which she stumbled at the start and found herself behind a crowd of horses for the first time, and checked in third behind Midnight Lucky and Close Hatches, last week’s blowout winner of the Mother Goose.

“I didn’t think she ran badly in the Acorn from the rail,” said Pletcher. “She was never in a great position and was getting a lot of dirt in her face, and she’d never really been in that situation. I thought she ran hard. Midnight Lucky was just too good on the day.”

Kauai Katie drew the outside in the six-furlong Victory Ride, a spot she was quite comfortable with in the Matron and Forward Gal.

Fusaichiswonderful must deal with the inside post as she makes her first start since a tough trip in the Eight Belles on Kentucky Oaks day, when she was slow to settle early, blocked in the stretch, and a fast-closing second.

“I thought she ran a winning race at Churchill last time out,” said Pletcher. “She was a little unlucky not to win, but ran a courageous race.”

The remaining quintet are headed by I’m Mom’s Favorite and Lighthouse Bay, the first and third finishers from the Ms. Preakness. The former posted her first two wins in pace-pressing fashion for Tony Dutrow, but rallied from next to last to prevail in the final stride of the Ms. Preakness at odds-on.

“I thought she would break and be close to the leaders, instead she was far back and came on,” said Dutrow. “Saturday, I would expect she would be a bit off the pace.”

Baby J, Bridgehampton, and Native One complete the field.