05/22/2009 11:00PM

Major-league pair invade for turf races

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Adam Coglianese
Blues Street, trained by Todd Pletcher, will be hard to beat Monday.

A pair of $75,000 turf stakes on Monday night's holiday card at Mountaineer Racetrack were intriguing enough to tempt high-profile trainers Todd Pletcher and Christophe Clement to enter horses that should be strong contenders.

The Pletcher-trained 5-year-old gelding Blues Street, sharp at Gulfstream Park in his last two starts, looks like the favorite in the one-mile Memorial Day Handicap (race 4).

Clement will send out European import Lindelaan, a winner in her United States debut last month, in the one-mile Decoration Day Handicap for fillies and mares (race 3).

Blues Street appears formidable in the Memorial Day. He comes off a career-best 98 Beyer Speed Figure for his win over high-priced optional claimers on April 22, flying home his last quarter-mile in 22.86 seconds.

Perhaps even more impressively, the two horses who finished last and next-to-last in that field of nine, Colonial Causeway and Evenings End, both came back to win their next start with identical Beyers of 86.

In addition, Pletcher shows a 2-for-4 record with his rare turf shippers to Mountaineer the past five years, including a pair of stakes wins in 2006 with Stormina.

Blues Street's chief challenge may come from the Woodbine-based Ghost Hour, who flashed high speed winning a $100,000 optional claimer at Gulfstream in Feburary with a 97 Beyer before failing to fire at 7-2 in the one-mile Henry Clark at Pimlico.

The main body of 12 also includes Brickell, the 50-1 upset winner of the Clark a month ago, and the always dangerous Bernie Blue, a 7-year-old dirt sprinter who has shown good turf form sprinting but finished sixth in his only start on grass beyond six furlongs, way back in 2006.

Lindelaan's assignment looks tougher in the Decoration Day, where she faces defending champ Beautiful Venue, the versatile mare Unspoken Word, and the speedy Maymast.

Clement, who has not run a horse at Mountaineer in the last five years, has given Lindelaan a month to recover from her neck victory over $80,000 optional claimers in a race contested on Keeneland's Polytrack. She was a three-time winner on grass while racing mostly at minor tracks in England.

Beautiful Venue won this race last year as the 8-5 favorite and should be ready for the stretch-out to a mile following a pair of sprints to start her 2009 campaign. She is 4 for 9 over Mountaineer's turf course for trainer Barbara Beagle.

Unspoken Word was extremely sharp racing in mile events over Turfway Park's Polytrack and was good enough to just miss by a neck, earning a 96 Beyer, in last year's Mother's Day Handicap on turf at the now-shuttered Bay Meadows.

Mayomast's speed will be dangerous breaking from the rail. Claimed for $25,000 last fall, she flourished on the turf at Tampa Bay Downs during the winter, winning a pair of routes and finishing third in two other grass starts.

Bahia Girl, in from Woodbine for trainer Brian Lynch, won her last two starts at Gulfstream, but she drew post 9, and outside posts (9-11) are just 9 for 144 in Mountaineer turf routes since 2006.