08/23/2007 12:00AM

La Traviata perfect so far


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - On paper, the $100,000 Victory Ride Stakes appears to be one of the more wide-open races on Saturday's card at Saratoga. But if one listens to trainer Patrick Biancone, the six-furlong Victory Ride is strictly a one-horse affair.

Biancone will send out the undefeated and still untested La Traviata against 12 more experienced 3-year-old fillies in the Grade 3 Victory Ride. A daughter of Johannesburg, La Traviata is a $1.1 million 2-year-old purchase who won her career debut by 13 lengths at Churchill Downs before returning with a five-length victory in Monmouth's Post Deb Stakes July 22.

"The way she [breaks], they'll never see her again," Biancone predicted. "She's a freak. She's really something special. We went to Monmouth to see how she'll handle the track for the future. She even rated a little bit, but she won by five on the bridle."

Regular rider Julien Leparoux will again have the call.

Should La Traviata not run to her trainer's expectations, any of a number of fillies can win the Victory Ride.

Featherbed and Allude meet again after finishing one-two in the Weekend Surprise Stakes here earlier in the meet. Featherbed led throughout to register her second straight victory, but with La Traviata and several other speed types in the Victory Ride lineup, she may not find herself in her familiar spot on the lead.

Allude has improved steadily since getting Lasix for the first time and beating older horses under first-level allowance conditions at Belmont on June 10. She was beaten a half-length by Featherbed in the Weekend Surprise after an unlucky start.

"She's definitely running a lot better since we started treating her with Lasix," said trainer Tom Albertrani. "She's been stepping up a little more with every start, has come along the right way, and is easy to place anywhere you want her in a race, which may be to our advantage with all the speed in this field."

Russian Gypsy is another lightly raced but improving 3-year-old who has won her last two starts, including a neck triumph on Aug. 5 in her first outing since being transferred to trainer Wally Dollase.

"She's a little nervous and high-strung but starting to learn to relax," said Dollase. "She's very professional and quite an athlete."

Graeme Six also figures to command plenty of attention coming off second-place finishes behind division leader Dream Rush in the Grade 1 Prioress and the undefeated Burmilla under allowance conditions in her Kentucky finale.

- additional reporting by David Grening