10/06/2006 11:00PM

Firm turf should benefit Quite a Bride


ELMONT, N.Y. - A drop in class, turn-back in distance, and the likelihood of a firm turf course should help Quite a Bride rediscover the winner's circle in Monday's $100,000 Pebbles Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

The Pebbles is the featured event on a 10-race Columbus Day card to be conducted at Belmont Park. The $65,000 North Broadway Stakes at 1 3/8 miles on the turf is also on the bill.

Quite a Bride, a daughter of Stormy Atlantic trained by Bill Mott, won her first four starts on turf, including the Grade 3 Boiling Springs at Monmouth Park on July 4. Quite a Bride is the only turf stakes winner in this field of seven.

In her last two races, Quite a Bride had the misfortune of running into Magnificent Song, who beat her by two lengths in the Grade 3 Lake George at Saratoga and by 4 3/4 lengths in the Grade 1 Garden City Breeders' Cup here on Sept. 9. Both races were run on less-than-firm turf courses.

"A mile and an eighth and soft ground - she doesn't like either one," Mott said regarding the Garden City. "The ground isn't the way it was then; that's after we had all that rain."

Cornelio Velasquez will ride Quite a Bride from post 2. She is the starting highweight at 123 pounds.

Calla Lily, a daughter of Pulpit trained by Tom Albertrani, has recorded both of her victories over Belmont's turf. In her last race, run at the Pebbles distance of a mile, Calla Lily rallied through a narrow opening between horses under Edgar Prado to win a first-level allowance race by 1 3/4 lengths.

"Edgar had to be a little patient," Albertrani said. "He finally found some room, she was able to go through there, and he had something left at the end."

Prado is committed to ride Better Now for Mark Hennig, so Eibar Coa rides Calla Lily.

Ready to Please and Sugar Swirl are stakes winners on dirt who will try the turf for the first time. Todd Pletcher, the trainer of Ready to Please, said he had been wanting to try his filly on the turf for some time, but she had been running too well on the dirt to switch surfaces. After Ready to Please finished last in the Grade 1 Test on dirt, Pletcher worked her on turf twice and has liked what he's seen.

* In the North of Broadway, Shared Dreams, winner of the Waya Stakes at Saratoga last out, looks like the one to beat for trainer Christophe Clement and Prado.