08/13/2006 11:00PM

Magical Ride vs. tough foe

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - It will be the talent and experience of in Wednesday's Grade 2, $200,000 Adirondack Breeders' Cup for juvenile fillies as Saratoga kicks off the second half of its 138th meeting.

Magical Ride, a daughter of Storm Cat and the first foal out of the Grade 1 winner Victory Ride, was awesome winning her debut at Belmont Park last month. Breaking from the outside post in a field of eight, she quickly made the front under Fernando Jara, ran an opening half-mile of 44.87 seconds, and was simply given a vigorous hand ride to the wire. She ran five furlongs in 57.13 seconds and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 102.

"I was expecting her to run well first out, but it's one of those things where you never know until they go out there and do it," said trainer Rusty Arnold, who also trained Victory Ride.

Arnold had targeted Wednesday's 6 1/2-furlong race for Magical Ride immediately after that maiden win. The only thing that went wrong for Magical Ride in the time since was a slow half-mile work on Aug. 8 that was caused by a loose horse that was on the track during the move. Arnold brought Magical Ride back on Saturday for a three-furlong blowout in 36.40 seconds.

"It was a very small bump in the road," Arnold said. "It was corrected, I think, perfectly, and she has no excuse."

Arnold doesn't even mind Magical Ride's outside draw in the 10-horse field.

"Honestly, I don't think we'll be wide for very long, and I would be much happier in the 10 hole than the 1 hole," he said.

If Arnold has one concern it's that Magical Ride has only one start while Richwoman, an undefeated daughter of Successful Appeal, has three. Arnold believes that Victory Ride's neck loss to Forest Secret in the Grade 1 Acorn in 2001 was the result of a lack of experience.

"Our only concern would be that, but there's not a thing you could have done about it," Arnold said. "Sometimes talent overcomes experience."

Richwoman brings both talent and experience into the Adirondack. She won her debut by seven lengths at Keeneland in April. Her connections shipped her in May to California where she won the Cinderella Stakes at Hollywood Park before winning the Grade 3 Debutante at Churchill by a neck over Chagall, who is also in this race. In the Debutante, Richwoman broke slowly, was between horses, and had to rally wide before running down Chagall.

"She got away a bit in a tangle, got covered up in the 1 hole, and it was kind of a new experience for her," trainer Scott Blasi said. "She had never been in that situation and she handled it well."

Richwoman will break from post 3 under Shaun Bridgmohan.

Trainer Todd Pletcher sends out the uncoupled entry of Chagall and Octave, who will break from the rail and post 3, respectively. Chagall was on the pace and five wide when second in the Debutante after winning her debut.

"We got parked out pretty wide all the way on the turn," Pletcher said. "[Richwoman] got by us late. She already started twice. With two starts under our belt and a little better trip, hopefully she can improve a bit."

Octave, a debut winner, finished second behind Desire to Excel in the Astoria Stakes, but has been training a little more forwardly for this race, according to Pletcher.

"We should see some improvement," he said.

Richard Dutrow Jr. claimed Tora for $80,000 the day she won a maiden race by 12 1/4 lengths in the slop at Churchill. She blew out three furlongs in a bullet 35.16 seconds on Monday for this.

Post Invader, 2 for 2 at Calder, and Early Vintage, who won a maiden race in a faster time than Richwoman won the Debutante the same day, add depth to the Adirondack field.