07/29/2007 11:00PM

Captive Melody runs for hot barn


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Coming off a wildly successful week, trainer Christophe Clement hopes to keep the ball rolling Wednesday at Saratoga when he sends out Captive Melody in a highly competitive De La Rose, the featured event on a 10-race card.

An overflow field of 16 fillies and mares - including two main-track-only horses - was entered for the $80,000 De La Rose, an overnight stakes scheduled for one mile on the inner turf course. Only 10 may run on turf.

From July 22 through Sunday, Clement won with 7 of 13 starters, including a 4-for-8 record at Saratoga that put him on top of the standings after the first five days. Clement won the Grade 3 Lake George with Rutherienne and an overnight New York-bred stakes with Rewrite here on Friday, then won the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Handicap at Del Mar on Sunday.

A pessimist by nature, Clement said, "Everything evens out with time, unfortunately."

Captive Melody could keep the pendulum swinging in Clement's favor, however. She has won 3 of her last 4 starts - though it took 12 months for those starts to come. In December, Captive Melody won a restricted stakes at Hollywood Park before being diagnosed with a bone chip in a knee. Following surgery and a recuperative period, Captive Melody won a second-level allowance race at Monmouth Park on June 15.

"She's been training very well so we decided to run in here, which is a bit ambitious," Clement said.

Amansara, beaten a nose by Meribel in a stakes here last year, makes her first start since losing by a length in the Grade 3 Frances Genter Stakes at Calder on Dec. 30. Trainer George Weaver said a severe leg infection and a dislike for training on the Polytrack nearly forced Amansara's retirement.

"Ever since we brought her up to Saratoga, she hasn't missed a beat," Weaver said. "She had a series of nice, solid works. She may not be fully cranked, but she's a hard tryer."

Rich Fantasy, trained by Ronny Werner, was competitive in Grade 3 stakes against such graded winners as Lady of Venice and Take the Ribbon.

Mo Cuishle, last year's Monmouth Oaks winner, makes her first start for trainer Barclay Tagg as well as her first on turf.