10/15/2008 11:00PM

Nehantic Cat looks appealing in Ticonderoga


ELMONT, N.Y. - Five horses have won the six turf stakes races run this year for New York-bred fillies and mares on this circuit. So don't be surprised if a new face emerges yet again when 11 statebred fillies and mares start in Saturday's $150,000 Ticonderoga Handicap at Belmont Park.

Rewrite, You Go West Girl, and Latitude Forty combined to win 4 of those 6 stakes and look like the main protagonists again in the Ticonderoga, run at 1 1/8 miles over the inner turf course.

But those races have been so close that horses such as Love Cove, Nedjma, Nehantic Cat or Chestoria are liable to jump up and win this race.

Nehantic Cat, trained by Barclay Tagg, may offer the best value of the group. A 5-year-old daughter of Tomorrows Cat, Nehantic Cat has raced only nine times, winning four. She won a second-level New York-bred allowance here in June and an open company first-level allowance at Saratoga on Aug. 6. Most recently, she finished fourth, beaten just two lengths, in her lone stakes try, the Mollie Wilmott Stakes at Saratoga. In that race, Nehantic Cat was shuffled back to last, and had to rally six wide in the stretch. She was late changing leads, but still outfinished favored Rewrite for fourth.

Tagg said that Nehantic Cat had her momentum stopped in that race, and since she does not have a strong turn of foot, that compromised her chances. Returning to Belmont, where the turns are wider, could play in her favor.

"I think she'll love it," Tagg said. "She's doing well. That's all you can hope for."

The connections of Rewrite are hoping their 5-year-old mare can return to the form that carried her to her victory in this race last year and a pair of victories here during the early summer. Since winning the Irish Actress in July, Rewrite has lost three times as the favorite in statebred stakes.

"The last three races she got beat so you just have a question mark if she's quite back at her best or a notch below," trainer Christophe Clement said. "She looks great, she's trained very well, if not better, the last 30 days than she did over the summer. I don't think she likes the heat. I think she's better in the spring or fall."

Rewrite, who will break from post 4 under Alan Garcia, will probably benefit from the 1 1/8 miles of this race.

You Go West Girl, trained by Tom Proctor, lost in two stakes at Saratoga before rallying strongly in the stretch of the Hey Baba Lulu here to get up by a nose over Love Cove. You Go West Girl, gets the rail and an extra sixteenth of a mile to help her late run.

Love Cove has been second or third in four races this year and has never been worse than third in six tries over Belmont's turf.

Chestoria is 2 for 3 against New York-breds on turf. She was beaten 14 lengths in each of her last two starts, both graded stakes. She gets Lasix and Javier Castellano for the first time.