10/05/2007 11:00PM

Cat Charmer's luck could change

EmailELMONT, N.Y. - After a pair of troubled trips around the tight-turned turf courses of Saratoga, Cat Charmer should appreciate the more spacious landscape of Belmont Park when she runs in Monday's $100,000 Pebbles Stakes.

The Pebbles, a one-mile turf race restricted to 3-year-old fillies, is the featured event on a 10-race Columbus Day card at Belmont. Since there is racing here on Monday, the track will be dark Tuesday and Wednesday.

Cat Charmer, a 3-year-old daughter of Storm Cat, was beaten twice in first-level allowance races at Saratoga. On Aug. 1, she was forced to steady slightly entering the first turn and again entering the far turn before launching a five-wide bid around the turn and coming up a half-length short at the wire to Ruban Bleu.

On Sept. 1, Cat Charmer stumbled at the start and was last early on, launched another five-wide bid, then made a run at Queen Joanne but bobbled in deep stretch and fell a nose short.

"She was probably a little unlucky at Saratoga," trainer Graham Motion said. "The first time she just missed getting up through nobody's fault. The second time she stumbled pretty badly, almost fell on her face. Watching the race you would have thought there was no way she'd get any part of it."

Garrett Gomez rode Cat Charmer in both of those races, but Gomez is committed to ride Medley, a European import, for trainer Christophe Clement. Eibar Coa will ride Cat Charmer from the outside post in the eight-horse field.

Queen Joanne, a half-brother to 2005 champion 2-year-old Stevie Wonderboy, has won both of her starts this year since coming back off a long layoff precipitated by ankle surgery. She is trained by Bill Mott, who has won the last two runnings of the Pebbles.

In her first start off the layoff, Queen Joanne ran a final quarter in 22.70 seconds to win a one-mile allowance race. In a Pebbles without much pace, Queen Joanne is likely to be on or near the early lead under Kent Desormeaux.

New Edition finished ninth in the Grade 1 Garden City Breeders' Cup after racing on the lead. Trainer Larry Jones believes she's better with a target, and the filly is reunited with jockey Gabriel Saez, who has been aboard for three of New Edition's four career victories.

Medley, owned and bred by the queen of England, makes her North American debut after winning a minor stakes race in Great Britain. Dorm Fever makes her turf debut and could be the main speed in the field.