07/02/2009 11:00PM

Light Green leads Prioress speed


ELMONT, N.Y. - Owner Edward Evans hopes two is better than one on Saturday when he sends out the coupled entry of Light Green and Cat Moves at Belmont Park in a competitive renewal of the $300,000 Prioress, the only Grade 1, six-furlong race restricted to 3-year-old fillies.

The speedy Light Green, trained by Todd Pletcher, has won 3 of 6 career starts, including an eight-length score in the Fall Aspen, an overnight stakes, in which she earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 109. Before that, Light Green won a first-level allowance race by 6 1/2 lengths at Gulfstream Park.

"She kept threatening to maybe have a big effort. We really didn't see it until the allowance win at Gulfstream," Pletcher said. "I thought all her races prior to that were solid. That was a big effort, and she followed that up with a bigger one."

Speaking of the Fall Aspen effort, Pletcher added, "The track was obviously fast, but she ran fast, and most of the figures came back to suggest that it wasn't just a fast racetrack, it was a [swiftly] run race on a fast track."

Though there is plenty of other speed in this field, including Reforestation, Acorn winner Gabby's Golden Gal, and Selva, Pletcher said that won't alter his strategy with Light Green

"We feel like our filly is best suited to let her do her thing early on," Pletcher said. "Generally, her first step is not great, but her second, third, and fourth are pretty quick, so we're going to let her run her race."

Cat Moves, trained by Tony Dutrow, may benefit from a contested pace. After winning her debut at Aqueduct on the lead, she came from off the pace to win a first-level allowance race at Delaware from off the pace.

"She's so laid-back, so calm and cool, she's going to enjoy a fast half-mile," Dutrow said.

Though Heart Ashley has won her last two in front-running fashion, trainer Steve Asmussen said that has been more by circumstance than anything else. The filly had C.C. Lopez aboard for her victory in the Grade 3 Cicada on Aqueduct's inner track, then broke from the rail in the Miss Preakness at Pimlico, a race she won by a head. Asmussen believes Heart Ashley was a tad short in the Miss Preakness because of missed training time.

"The missed training made it harder," said Asmussen, who said Heart Ashley hasn't missed time leading to this. "She seems extremely manageable."

On the Menu, trained by Larry Jones, defeated Heart Ashley last winter at Fair Grounds and is coming off a neck victory in the Just Smashing Stakes at Monmouth seven weeks ago.