10/09/2003 11:00PM

Feline Story back doing her thing


ELMONT, N.Y. - Feline Story lost as the favorite when she was stretched out to a mile in the Grade 1 Matron. She is back doing what she does best - sprinting - in Sunday's $150,0000 Astarita at Belmont Park.

The Grade 2 Astarita, a 6 1/2-furlong race, drew nine 2-year-old fillies.

The last three winners of the Astarita - Xtra Heat, Bella Bellucci, and Humorous Lady - ran back in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Bella Bellucci had the best Breeders' Cup effort of the three, with a third-place finish in 2001.

Feline Story, who began her career at Belmont by winning her first two starts by a combined margin of 15 1/2 lengths, finished fourth in the Matron on Sept. 14. She was beaten 7 1/2 lengths by the winner, Marylebone.

Stanley Hough, who trains Feline Story for Einar P. Robsham, said the distance of the Matron was a hurdle for his filly.

"I really don't think she wants to go a mile at this time," Hough said. "Possibly, it will be more suitable as she gets older. She was in good position and then finished evenly."

When Feline Story won her maiden and her second start in the Astoria Stakes, she set the pace. In winning the Grade 3 Sorority by 5 3/4 lengths at Monmouth Park, Feline Story stalked the early leaders. Hough said stalking might be the way to go on Sunday because the Astarita field has plenty of speed.

Edgar Prado rides Feline Story from post 6. A chance for rain is in Sunday's forecast, which shouldn't bother Feline Story, who is 2 for 3 on wet tracks.

Smokey Glacken won the Forward Gal at Monmouth on Sept. 21 after having won her career debut at Saratoga four weeks earlier. Smokey Glacken's trainer, Jimmy Jerkens, said it might be a good time to see if the speedy filly, who won both her starts on the front end, will stalk the pace. That might be difficult because Smokey Glacken drew the rail.

"The two tracks she won on were a lot more speed-favoring than this track," Jerkens said. "It would be nice to sit right off a speed duel."

Ana's Lady Bird prompted the pace on her way to winning a first-level allowance race by 9 1/2 lengths at Saratoga.

Lovethatlegend, who has been beating up on fillies and colts at Prairie Meadows, makes her first start for trainer Lisa Lewis.

Cosmic Wish, Forty Moves, and Freeroll are coming off maiden wins. Ms. Trick or Treat and Spectacular Moon complete the field.