10/22/2007 11:00PM

Favored Indian Blessing draws ideal post 4

EmailOCEANPORT, N.J. - Indian Blessing drew an ideal post for her role as a lukewarm favorite in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies in a race in which several other key contenders drew tough starting assignments.

Indian Blessing, unbeaten winner of the Grade 1 Frizette, will break from post 4 under Garrett Gomez in the 24th running of the 1o1/16-mile Juvenile Fillies, while her Bob Baffert-trained stablemate, Cry and Catch Me, will start much farther out in post 13. Other contenders with outside posts include Proud Spell (post 10), Grace Anatomy (posto12), and A to the Croft (post 14).

Indian Blessing, the 3-1 favorite on the morning line, will be making her first start around two turns. She won the one-mile Frizette at Belmont Park around one turn last out. Baffert, who was scheduled to arrive in New Jersey from California late Tuesday, said he is a big believer in the Indian Charlie filly.

"She's an extremely talented filly," he said. "You never know until they do it, but she's shown me she wants to go on."

Cry and Catch Me, with Mike Smith to ride, won the Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes in her last start and is a co-third choice at 6-1. There are two other Grade 1 winners in the full field of 14: Irish Smoke (post 5), winner of the Spinaway, and Set Play (post 6), winner of the Del Mar Debutante.

Proud Spell, bred and owned by former Kentucky Gov. Brereton Jones and trained by Larry Jones (no relation), is the 5-1 second choice, and is one of four undefeated fillies in the race, along with Indian Blessing, Clearly Foxy (post 2), and Smarty Deb (posto9). The No. 10 post, said Larry Jones, "should be okay. I'd love to be closer, but we'll probably drop back and save ground anyway. All I know is she worked like a demon [Monday], and she came out of it great - ate everything up. She's good right now."

A to the Croft, to be ridden by Kent Desormeaux, has run second in three straight graded stakes - the Grade 2 Adirondack, Grade 1 Spinaway, and Grade 1 Alcibiades. Trainer Ken McPeek said the far outside post does not particularly bother him.

"I'm leaving it all in Kent's hands," he said. "I've got complete confidence that he'll get her there."

Others in the Juvenile Fillies are Phantom Income, Tasha's Miracle, Backseat Rhythm, Izarra, and Zee Zee.

Sixteen were pre-entered, and two European fillies, Annie Skates and Joffe's Run, were excluded from the race.