09/21/2005 11:00PM

Croisiere, German stakes winner, makes U.S. debut


How do minor stakes in Germany and France compare to a six-figure but ungraded turf stakes in America?

The answer is the key to unlocking the puzzle that could point out the winner in Saturday's $150,000 Martha Washington Breeders' Cup, a 1 1/16-mile grass race for 3-year-old fillies at Laurel Park.

New York-based trainer Christophe Clement has European import Croisiere set to make her North American debut. Clement has hit with 8 of 29 starters making their American debuts the past two seasons.

, who will be racing on Lasix for the first time, has finished first or second in her last three starts, including a win in a seven-furlong listed stakes in Dusseldorf, Germany.

, whose five-race winning streak was snapped last month at Saratoga, and Sweet Talker, unbeaten in three starts at the distance, are the horses to beat.

Starting with a maiden claimer at Gulfstream, Victory Lap rapidly rose in class, capped by a 14 1/4-length romp in the Lone Star Oaks in July. She was beaten less than two lengths and earned a solid Beyer Speed Figure of 98 for her third-place finish in the Grade 2 Lake Placid last time out.

If Victory Lap wins, there could be an overflow crowd in the winner's circle. Last month, the Horse Hats Racing Club issued 100 shares in the ownership of Victory Lap. The shares, priced at $200 each, represent 5 percent of the filly's value and quickly sold out on the Internet.

, winner of the Edgewood Stakes at Churchill Downs last spring, will be making her first start since June for new trainer Helen Pitts, a former assistant under Ken McPeek and Maryland-based Fran Campitelli.

"We like the mile-and-a-sixteenth distance coming off the layoff," Pitts said. "We just gave her a freshening after she ran three tough races at Churchill."

Dynamite Lass nearly won the Grade 3 Hercomesthebride at Gulfstream in March and regained her good form facing allowance runners at Saratoga.

Delaware: Love Locket formidable

Love Locket, the only winner around two turns in a group of seven 2-year-old fillies, is the obvious horse to beat in the $55,000 Irish Sonnet, a one-mile overnight stakes at Delaware Park.

Making her second career start earlier this month at Monmouth Park, Love Locket was able to engage in a duel for the lead that lasted six furlongs and still have enough energy to draw clear by two lengths. Trained by Todd Pletcher, she will be ridden for the first time by Ramon Dominguez.

Based on pedigree, Plutonic and New Rochelle should be capable of stretching out from a sprint to one mile.

Plutonic, no factor in the six-furlong Sorority at Monmouth, is a daughter of Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Anees. Her trainer, Joe Orseno, excels with horses going from sprints to routes.

New Rochelle, trained by H. Graham Motion, easily won her maiden at Pimlico while racing on Lasix for the first time.

As a daughter of Old Trieste out of Rochelle's Terms, New Rochelle sports an exceptional Tomlinson rating of 400 for the one-mile distance.