06/06/2011 2:08PM

Belmont: Pletcher finds spot for Rose Catherine


ELMONT, N.Y. – Finding the right spot for the 4-year-old filly Rose Catherine has proven to be more of a difficult chore than trainer Todd Pletcher anticipated.

In her last four starts, Rose Catherine has raced against males twice, had a race rained off the turf, and then caught a bog of a turf course at Pimlico.

“It’s been one less-than-ideal circumstance after another,” Pletcher said.

Pletcher will try again on Wednesday when he appears to have found the ideal spot for Rose Catherine, that being the $60,000 Nonsuch Bay Stakes for females at six furlongs over Belmont’s inner turf course. Of course, Mother Nature could play a factor as isolated thunderstorms are forecast for Wednesday.

“If it’s a less-than-ideal course we may consider scratching,” Pletcher said.

Needless to say, the seven other trainers in the race will collectively be doing a rain dance. Last summer, Rose Catherine reeled off four consecutive victories, including a trio of stakes capped by the $200,000 Turf Amazon Handicap at Parx in September.

Since then, Rose Catherine has lost four straight, including a seventh-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint against males last November and a third in The Very One over yielding turf last month.

“I haven’t lost any confidence in the filly,” Pletcher said. “I think she’s training as well and looks as well as she ever has. I think it’s just been circumstances.”

Rose Catherine will break from the outside post in the eight-horse field.

Legally Blanca won a stakes over the Belmont turf course in September 2009, but has gone winless in three starts since. Her trainer, Tony Dutrow, said Legally Blanca wasn’t suited to the Gulfstream Park turf course, which offered races at five furlongs or a mile.

Legally Blanca returns from a 15-month layoff, though Dutrow was uncertain why the filly was off for so long before returning to his care earlier in the year.

“She’s good, I’m really happy with her. I think she’s coming into that race ready to run to her ability,” Dutrow said.

Karakorum Elektra, who is 7 for 16 at Belmont Park, will have to make a step forward off her fifth-place finish in the Glia Stakes here on May 13.

Sea Road was beaten 8 3/4 lengths by Rose Catherine in a six-furlong maiden race over this course on Oct. 11, 2009. She has enjoyed her most success at a mile or 1 1/16 miles.

Comic Marvel, Becky’s Exchange, Wild About Marie, and Bailzee complete the field.