06/14/2007 12:00AM

Cantrel takes class jump in Jostle


After crushing first-level allowance rivals and fellow Pennsylvania-breds in her last two starts by a combined margin of 23 1/4 lengths, Cantrel will get tested by far tougher competition Saturday at Philadelphia Park.

The 3-year-old Cantrel will face three fillies who have been in the money against Grade 2 and Grade 3 stakes runners when she moves into open company for the $100,000 Jostle at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Richwoman, winner of the Grade 3 Debutante at Churchill Downs as a 2-year-old; Perfect Forest, third in the Grade 2 Comely at Aqueduct two starts ago; and You Asked, runner-up in the Grade 3 Old Hat at Gulfstream Park in February, figure to provide much stiffer competition for Cantrel than she faced when she cruised past five rivals in the statebred Wonders Delite at Penn National a month ago.

Cantrel, claimed by trainer Scott Lake out of a $40,000 maiden race last fall, has put up back-to-back Beyer Speed Figures of 92 and 96 in her first two starts at 3. She has landed in a spot with two other front-runners in sharp form - Akronism and Ticket to Seattle - but after getting a half-mile in 44 seconds in each of her last two starts, Cantrel should get to the front again on Saturday.

Perfect Forest, a beaten favorite in each of her last two starts, may pose the most serious threat to Cantrel. She cuts back to a sprint for trainer Todd Pletcher after holding the lead at the six-furlong mark of the one-mile Comely and a 1 1/16-mile overnight stakes at Delaware Park in her two most recent starts.

You Asked, who comes from farther back, may have been compromised by a track that distinctly favored early speed when she failed to fire as the 6-5 favorite in the Mayo19 Peach Blossom at Delaware Park. Her chances would improve if one of the other speedsters could hook up with Cantrel early.

After opening her career with three consecutive victories, Richwoman has lost three straight, but could be primed for a peak effort in the third start of her current form cycle and must be respected coming from the high-percentage barn of Steve Asmussen.

o S W Aly'svalentine, who failed to show her customary speed when moved up to open company, returns to the statebred ranks for the $60,000 Russian Rhythm Handicap at five furlongs on turf.

The value play could be Miss Blue Tye Dye, who gets 12 pounds from highweight S W Aly'svalentine. Miss Blue Tye Dye beat older horses and open company in her turf debut sprinting at Pimlico in April.