10/14/2004 11:00PM

'Dixie Girl' heads north for Astarita


ELMONT, N.Y. - The last time trainer Bruce Levine saddled a horse for Kentucky-based trainer Bernie Flint, Im a Dixie Girl won the Colleen Stakes by more than eight lengths at Monmouth in August.

will be saddled again by Levine in Sunday's Grade 3, $100,000-added Astarita Stakes at Belmont Park, and is the horse to beat in the 6 1/2-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies.

Another stakes winner in the six-horse field is , who is coming off a 3 1/4-length win in the ungraded Sorority, where she earned a 65 Beyer Speed Figure, at Monmouth on Sept. 4. By comparison, Im a Dixie Girl's Beyer for her victory in last month's Bassinet was an 88.

When Flint shipped runners to New York and New Jersey this year, including Angel Trumpet, the runner-up in the Grade 2 Schuylerville at Saratoga, the horses ran in Levine's name.

After Im a Dixie Girl won the Colleen, she was sent back to Flint and won the Bassinet by a neck on Sept. 4 at River Downs. Two weeks later, she finished fifth as the favorite at Turfway in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies, her first start beyond six furlongs.

"Bernie said to throw her race out," Levine said.

Richard Migliore rides Im a Dixie Girl, who drew post 3 and has early speed.

Trainer Tom Bush, unhappy that Queens Plaza drifted out during the stretch run of the Sorority, experimented with different equipment in the morning, but decided against using blinkers because the filly has run well without them.

Under Stewart Elliott, Queens Plaza set the pace in the Sorority and had a comfortable lead with a furlong remaining when she drifted out.

Jerry Bailey picks up the mount on Queens Plaza.

adds more speed to the mix. After a dull effort in the Matron, where she stretched out to a mile for the first time, Summer Raven is back sprinting. In the Matron, Summer Raven was rated off the speed, but her trainer, Todd Pletcher, said, "we'll let her run on the first part" in the Astarita.

Five Star Fund won a maiden race on the lead here on Sept. 26 in her second start.

"I'm hoping she can be in a stalking position and let someone else do the work," said Rick Violette, Five Star Fund's trainer.

Roving Angel, 3 for 3, ships in from Woodbine for trainer Robert Pion. Toll Taker, a 10-length winner of an allowance race at Monmouth, completes the field.