Updated on 09/17/2011 8:55PM

Maddalena faces toughest task

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Maddalena, shown winning the Old Hat under John Velazquez a month ago, comes into Saturday's Forward Gal both unbeaten and untested.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - How good is Saturday's $150,000 Stonerside Forward Gal Stakes at Gulfstream Park? Just ask trainer Todd Pletcher, who will send out the odds-on favorite Maddalena in the seven-furlong dash for 3-year-old fillies.

"This may be the toughest race of the meet," said Pletcher.

It's hard to argue with his opinion. Along with Maddalena, who is unbeaten and untested in three starts, the Forward Gal also drew the undefeated Letgomyecho, stakes winner Hot Storm, and Little Money Down and Bird Harbor, who finished one-two in an allowance race. Dixie Gemstone and Leona's Knight round out the field.

has won her three starts by an average margin of more than six lengths, including a 7 1/4-length victory in the Grade 3 Old Hat Stakes here on Feb. 5. She earned Beyer Speed Figures of 102 for both her local victories this winter.

"I've been impressed by several of the other fillies in this race," said Pletcher. "But my filly is doing well and has had two good races over the track."

Maddalena has been with the pace in each of her three starts and could face some early pressure in the Forward Gal from Little Money Down and Bird Harbor. Her hand might be forced because she drew post 1.

"She's kind enough to do whatever we want but fast enough where I don't see her following too many during the early part of the race," said Pletcher.

Letgomyecho has won her first two starts, also without much of a challenge. A daughter of Menifee, Letgomyecho overcame a poor start to win her maiden by 5 1/2 lengths at Calder, then launched her 3-year-old campaign with a four-length first-level allowance victory here Feb. 6.

"She hasn't made any mistakes yet, but this is a big step up, especially running against a filly like Todd's," said Letgomyecho's trainer, Rusty Arnold.

Hot Storm overcame a tough post and wide trip to win the Sunshine Millions Oaks at Santa Anita in her last start. She has been training over the Gulfstream Park strip for several weeks in preparation for this race, her graded-stakes debut.

Little Money Down outgamed the slow-starting Bird Harbor by a half-length in a near race-long battle on Feb. 13. The win was the second in three starts for Little Money Down, who was purchased privately by John Oxley and turned over to trainer John Ward Jr. after her maiden win at Aqueduct in December.