10/27/2005 11:00PM

Debate begins with Adieu vs. Folklore

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D. Wayne Lukas (above) and Todd Pletcher send out the respective top two fillies in the East, Folklore and Adieu, in the Juvenile Fillies.

ELMONT, N.Y. - The last three years, the dominant horse in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies has lived up to her reputation - and short price - and won.

In Saturday's $1,060,000 Juvenile Fillies at Belmont Park, dominance has given way to parity in a race in which there is debate about who will be favored. Daily Racing Form national handicapper Mike Watchmaker made Adieu the 3-1 favorite, whereas New York Racing Association oddsmaker Eric Donovan made Folklore the 5-2 choice.

And the Juvenile Fillies is far from a two-horse event. Though the race suffered four defections from the 14 that were pre-entered Oct. 19, the 10 who remain are the right ones.

Adieu is 4 for 5, with two wins over Folklore. Folklore is 3 for 6, with a win over Adieu, and gave arguably the most impressive performance by a juvenile filly this year when she won the Grade 1 Matron by 14 lengths. Adieu was not in that field.

When someone mentioned to D. Wayne Lukas, the trainer of Folklore, that he was surprised Folklore was favored, Lukas replied, "What the hell? We got the best filly."

Lukas, who has won the Juvenile Fillies four times, brings Folklore to this race off a six-week layoff. Lukas said the layoff was by design and he's happy he did it.

"I'm real glad I did it for a number of reasons," Lukas said. "I didn't think she needed that much racing. She puts a lot into her mornings, a lot of effort into her gallops. She really gets into it. The other thing, in hindsight, it really feels good because the day of the Frizette it was anything but a track I would have run on. My theory has always been when you get a really good race prior to the big one, like we did in the Matron, you keep them there when you can. I feel very comfortable with what I'm doing."

On the flip side, trainer Todd Pletcher brings Adieu back just three weeks after she won the Frizette over an extremely sloppy track. While Pletcher is a proponent of more time between races, he said he believes Adieu has shown the right signs leading up to this.

"She gives us the impression she's had enough time, but until you go over there and have to dig down at the eighth pole you never know," Pletcher said.

Pletcher said he believes Adieu is training better than she ever has. "She's become a more willing work horse and more competitive in the mornings than she was to begin with," he said.

Pletcher said he also likes Adieu's draw. Adieu will break from post 6, and Folklore will break from rail.

Heading into the Oak Leaf, Wild Fit was considered a dominant filly along the lines of Sweet Catomine, who won last year's Juvenile Fillies. In a span of 13 days, Wild Fit won a maiden race and the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante. But in the Oak Leaf, she couldn't get past Diamond Omi - who is also in this field - and thus there is plenty of room aboard her bandwagon.

Trainer Jeff Mullins said he didn't train Wild Fit every day going into the Oak Leaf because he had been so hard on her at Del Mar.

"She's a light-framed filly," said Mullins. "I didn't want her shriveling up on me, so I kind of lightened up on her so she'd keep her weight on."

Mullins said he likes Wild Fit's outside draw and the cutback to a one-turn race.

If there is a "buzz" horse in this year's Juvenile Fillies, it's Original Spin. She has won both of her starts, including a nice off-the-pace win in the Arlington-Washington Lassie on Sept. 18.

Jerry Bailey has picked up the mount on Original Spin, and he put her through a solid workout over this strip Oct. 18. Original Spin will race on Lasix for the first time in the Juvenile Fillies after having bled slightly in her final work at Hawthorne.

The only negative, according to her connections, is that she drew post 2. Trainer Tony Mitchell said he does not want to see Original Spin get caught up in a speed duel.

"The ideal scenario would be we miss the break," Mitchell said. "There's a lot of speed in this race. I think that first quarter is going to be super fast."

Sensation, who is 2 for 2 at Belmont, has to prove she can stretch out. Along the Sea, second to Adieu in the Frizette, adds blinkers and worked extremely well in them earlier in the week.