09/21/2006 12:00AM

Magical Ride's last not true


ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Rusty Arnold believes there were several reasons why Magical Ride was unable to replicate her brilliant debut when she finished third as the 4-5 favorite in the Grade 2 Adirondack Breeders' Cup last month at Saratoga.

First, Magical Ride didn't settle into the hectic surroundings of the traffic-laden Saratoga main track in the morning as she had the serenity of spacious Belmont Park. Second, a workout eight days before the Adirondack didn't go as planned, forcing Arnold to work her back four days later. Finally, the regally bred daughter of Storm Cat got excited in the gate before the Adirondack, something that may have zapped some of her energy while she was trying to stretch out from five furlongs to 6 1/2 furlongs.

Still, Magical Ride ran a creditable race in the Adirondack, turning back a pace challenge from Tora before losing by two lengths to Octave.

Magical Ride will try to bounce back against Octave and four other juvenile fillies in the Grade 1, $250,000 Matron at Belmont Park. The Matron, run at seven furlongs, tops a 10-race card that also includes the $250,000 Futurity for juvenile colts and the $150,000 Noble Damsel for females on the turf.

"A lot of things went wrong, and I think they're all corrected," Arnold said.

Arnold gave credit to Belmont's gate crew for the work they've done with Magical Ride in the morning. Also, Arnold said, Magical Ride has seemed more relaxed since returning to Belmont, where on July 14 she rolled to a four-length maiden victory earning a 102 Beyer Speed Figure.

"When I say relaxed, is she going to be off the pace? Of course not." Arnold said. "She's fast, but there's two types of fast. There's run-off, burn yourself up, or break and run."

Edgar Prado replaces Fernando Jara aboard Magical Ride, who breaks from post 6.

Octave and Featherbed make up an uncoupled Todd Pletcher-trained entry. Octave came from off the pace to win the Adirondack while Featherbed led gate to wire to win a maiden race by 9 1/4 lengths at Saratoga on Aug. 27. Octave's ability to rate may give her an edge going seven furlongs.

"I think she can actually rate even further off the pace than she was the other day," Pletcher said. "Obviously, Featherbed's got a lot of natural speed, so they shouldn't get in each other's way early on."

Cash's Girl, who won her debut by 11 3/4 lengths at Delaware Park, ships in for the same connections as Afleet Alex had. Cash's Girl is by Northern Afleet out of a dam, Jolie Hawk, who is a half-sister to Afleet Alex.