06/30/2005 11:00PM

Folklore on the right track

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ELMONT, N.Y. - Folklore showed marked improvement from her debut to her second start. Another step forward could make her the one to beat in a competitive renewal of the $100,000 Astoria Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Belmont Park.

made her debut here May 18 and was part of a four-ply speed duel before finishing second, 3 1/4 lengths behind Fifth Avenue. Fifth Avenue came back to win the Fashion Stakes on June 9 and will likely be favored in the Astoria, run at 5 1/2 furlongs.

Meanwhile, Folklore came back to win her maiden June 3, running five furlongs in a solid 57.83 seconds, a second faster than the boys ran two races later. After breaking sharply from the rail, Cornelio Velasquez was able to get Folklore off the pace. Folklore displayed a strong stretch kick, beating next-out winner Truart by four lengths.

With a speed duel likely in the Astoria, Folklore should benefit from her outside post and another stalking trip. Folklore, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, gets Lasix for the first time.

, trained by Mark Hennig, is a deserving favorite off her two victories. She broke from the inside and withstood early pressure in winning her maiden. She broke from the outside in the Fashion, drawing clear and then holding off Blissful Trip to win by a nose. Sunday, Fifth Avenue will break from post 3 and carry highweight of 120 pounds.

"She's not the type at this stage of her career that draws off," Hennig said. "She runs as fast as she needs to. I think she'll settle. She doesn't seem like she has to be in front."

outran her 27-1 odds when beaten a nose by Fifth Avenue in the Fashion. Her trainer, Graham Motion, said he believes Blissful Trip could run better in her second start over Belmont's main track.

Trainer Todd Pletcher sends out the uncoupled entry of Adieu and Fantast. Adieu won her maiden at first asking, taking advantage of the Keeneland rail and a good break to win by 4 1/4 lengths. She popped a splint bone and was forced to miss the Fashion.

Fantast came from off the pace to win her maiden at Monmouth, a race in which the runner-up came back to win. Fantast, who will be ridden by Eibar Coa, will get Lasix for the first time.