06/05/2007 11:00PM

Marcavelly and Distorted Reality meet again

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ELMONT, N.Y. - The last time Marcavelly and Distorted Reality met, they ended up in a photo finish in the Grade 3 Crown Royal American Turf at Churchill Downs. Unfortunately for them, it was a photo for fourth place, won by Marcavelly.

On Friday, the two meet again in the Gradeo3, $100,000 Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont Park, and the likely scenario is that one of the two will be getting his picture taken in the winner's circle. Marcavelly and Distorted Reality head a six-horse field entered in the Hill Prince, scheduled for one mile over the Widener turf course. Believeinmenow was entered only if the race is rained off to the main track.

Coming off an authoritative victory in the Grade 3 Transylvania at Keeneland, Marcavelly was sent off the 5-2 favorite in the Crown Royal. Over a yielding turf course, Marcavelly tracked a slow pace and never really fired, finishing fourth, beaten 1 1/2 lengths.

That race was Marcavelly's first on ground rated anything but firm.

"I believe that affected us," Mott said of the soft ground. "I think it had something to do with the outcome. He didn't seem to like it as well as firm ground."

Though approximately two inches of rain fell here on Sunday and Monday, the turf course was rated firm for Wednesday's races. The next threat of rain is Friday night.

Marcavelly will break from post 3 under Edgar Prado.

Distorted Reality, a son of Distorted Humor, won his first two starts on turf impressively before finishing fifth in the Crown Royal, a nose behind Marcavelly.

"I think it was a deceptively good race," said Todd Pletcher, trainer of Distorted Reality. "He got into some traffic issues and there wasn't much pace to run at. I think it was a better race than it looks on paper. It wasn't too many strides past the wire he was actually right there in front."

Pletcher did say he wishes the Hill Prince were "a little longer" in distance. John Velazquez rides from the rail.

Storm in May returns to the turf after running second to Curlin in the Arkansas Derby and 16th to Street Sense in the Kentucky Derby on turf and led the Palm Beach field at Gulfstream Park into the stretch before finishing third. Trainer Bill Kaplan is hoping the cutback to one mile from 1 1/8 miles will be a plus.

Royal War Academy could be a pace factor. Reptilian Smarts and Codeword complete the field.

The Hill Prince will be the last of 10 races, and will be shown on ESPN2 during a one-hour broadcast beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern.