11/11/2008 1:00AM

Big dropper Royal Pleasure set to strike


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Royal Pleasure may have found the company too tough and the distance too far when she finished sixth in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor at Woodbine last month.

Wednesday, Royal Pleasure cuts back to 1 1/16 miles and meets a significantly softer group when she heads a full field of fillies and mares entered for the $65,000 Fairy Garden Stakes at Aqueduct. Fourteen horses were entered, including two interesting prospects if the race is moved to the dirt. Only 10 will be permitted to run on turf.

Royal Pleasure, trained by Jonathan Sheppard, won the Mrs. Penny Stakes and the Kentucky Cup Ladies Turf before going for Grade 1 glory in the E.P. Taylor. She was several lengths back off a slow pace set by Folk Opera, who won the race.

"She got caught a little wide and when she got to the eighth pole she kind of hung a little bit," Sheppard said. "She wasn't disgraced. She seems very happy, she's training well. Hopefully she'll be competitive."

There should be a realistic pace in this race with Cagey Girl, Diamond Dina, Opera Heroine and Waquoit's Love all showing a propensity to race close to the lead. Opera Heroine, trained by Jack Fisher, has won 4 of her last 6 starts and is coupled with Royalties, who was beaten just 1 1/4 lengths by Royal Pleasure in the Kentucky Cup Ladies Turf.

The mystery horse in the field is Blues for Sale, an Argentine-bred 5-year-old mare who has won 9 of 12 starts, including four wins against males. Blues for Sale is making her first start in a year, first on turf, and first for the IEAH Stables and trainer Richard Dutrow Jr.

"I don't know what to expect," Dutrow said. "We'll watch and see and go from there. I didn't see any races I like for her on dirt, and she's ready to run. She's not training lights out on the dirt, she's not impressed me, so I don't mind doing what we're doing."

If the race is moved to the dirt, then graded stakes winners Bsharpsonata and Rite Moment become the ones to beat. Bsharpsonata was a multiple Grade 2 winner for trainer Tim Salzman in the winter, but is now in the barn of Todd Pletcher. Rite Moment also won a pair of Grade 2 races this year.

* Earlier on the card, the multiple stakes winner By the Light looks like the one to beat in the $65,000 Flip's Pleasure Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares going a mile on dirt.