04/15/2010 12:00AM

Life at Ten primed for Sixty Sails


STICKNEY, Ill. - Todd Pletcher's the trainer. The mare's a 5-year-old who wintered in New York, showing signs of recent improvement and a last-out, nine-furlong, Aqueduct inner-track stakes win.

Those were precisely the circumstances under which Fleet Indian won the 2006 Sixty Sails at Hawthorne Race Course by more than 12 lengths, a victory followed by wins in the Delaware Handicap, the Personal Ensign, and the Beldame. And those are exactly the characteristics that apply to Life at Ten, who seeks her first graded stakes victory here Saturday in the Grade 3, $200,000 Sixty Sails, a 1 1/8-mile dirt race.

Life at Ten required nine starts to notch two wins, but this 5-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon, owned by Cynthia DeBartolo, enters the Sixty Sails with three straight victories, looking more potent each time. The last two, in Aqueduct overnight stakes, marked her first dirt-route races. Previously, Life at Ten had started only on synthetics, or turf, or around one bend on dirt.

"We had her on the wrong surface to begin with, since she clearly likes dirt better than synthetic, and at Saratoga we were having trouble getting longer races to go," said Pletcher. "She's always trained really well. She's a big, physically imposing filly."

The Sixty Sails does represent a class hike for Life at Ten, who will break from the outside post in an eight-horse field that should stay intact (barring sickness or injury). The wide draw is a good place from which to deploy tactical speed, and Life at Ten could take up a good spot stalking a fast pace. The likely front-runners are Fighter Wing, who set the pace before fading in the March 13 New Orleans Ladies, and Jessica Is Back, one of two horses for Florida-based trainer Marty Wolfson.

"She's got a lot of speed," Wolfson said. "If she breaks, I think she'll be in front."

Jessica Is Back is no sure thing to stay 1 1/8 miles, but Wolfson's other horse, Miss Singhsix, can make the distance.

"I think a mile and an eighth or further is what she wants," said Wolfson.

Win contender Never Retreat has raced mainly on turf since 2008, but ran well Jan. 30 in her only recent dirt start, and worked a half-mile in 50.20 seconds here Sunday. And none of the three others - Starship Angel, Peach Brew, and Afleet Deceit - appears obviously overmatched.