11/01/2006 1:00AM

Legitimate case can be made for 12


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Happy Ticket and Balletto were stuck in the outside two post positions and race favorite Fleet Indian drew right in the middle of a full field entered for Saturday's Breeders' Cup Distaff at Churchill Downs.

Happy Ticket will break from post 13, and Balletto will break from the extreme outside in the 14-horse Distaff, which boasts 12 Grade 1 winners in its field. Meanwhile, Fleet Indian, the New York-bred filly who has won eight consecutive races, drew post 7 and was installed as the 8-5 morning-line favorite by track oddsmaker Mike Battaglia. Daily Racing Form's national handicapper, Mike Watchmaker, made Fleet Indian the 2-1 favorite, and both handicappers made Pine Island the 5-1 second choice, followed by Balletto at 6-1. Pine Island drew post 2.

Andrew Leggio, trainer of Happy Ticket, said he believes the Distaff has the best field on the card.

"They got 14 horses in this race, and I think 12 are capable of winning this race," he said. "This is a very stellar field."

If all 14 start, it will be the first time since 1992 that the Distaff goes with a full field. Including supplemental fees paid by the connections of Asi Siempre and Spun Sugar, the Distaff purse is $2.26 million.

Happy Ticket finished 11th as the 9-2 second choice in this race last year, when she broke from post 7. Although he isn't thrilled about the outside post, Leggio said he preferred it over an inside draw.

"We'd rather be there than have the 1-2-3-4 and possibly get shut off going into that first turn," Leggio said. "But she's got versatile speed, and I think she'll break and get wherever she needs to be."

Balletto, who finished second in the 2004 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, is a closer, so trainer Tom Albertrani said the outside draw didn't bother him too much.

"For her, she's going to drop out the backdoor, anyway," Albertrani said from New York. "Inside would have been a little better, but it's not the worst thing in the world."

Like Balletto, Pine Island is a closer, and she should benefit from drawing post 2, because she will be able to save ground under jockey Javier Castellano.

Fleet Indian, winner of eight consecutive races, is drawn inside the majority of the other speed horses with the exception of Healthy Addiction, the California-based filly who drew post 3. Speed horses Pool Land and Bushfire drew posts 9 and 11.

Fleet Indian is one of three fillies entered by Todd Pletcher, who will also start Spun Sugar (post 6) and Pool Land.

Since there were no defections from the field, Summerly, winner of last year's Kentucky Oaks, did not draw into the Distaff field. Summerly was not chosen into the body of the race by the Breeders' Cup panel when pre-entries were announced last week.

"I'm very disappointed she didn't get in," trainer Scott Blasi. "I don't agree with the selection process. I don't think it was the same for all the races. Hopefully, in the future there'll be some adjustments made to it."

Summerly will be sold at Sunday's Fasig-Tipton Kentucky selected fall mixed sale.