09/01/2004 11:00PM

New Yorkers stand out in features


A pair of $250,000 stakes has tempted New York-based trainers Todd Pletcher, Kiaran McLaughlin, and Tom Albertrani to bring several of their lightly raced 2-year-olds to Delaware Park this weekend.

If all the New Yorkers show up, they could well dominate Saturday's co-features, the National Association of Two-Year-Old Consignors Futurity and the NATC Sorority. Both stakes will be contested at six furlongs and are restricted to horses who went through the sales ring this year.

The most intriguing match-up looms in the Futurity (race 8), between the McLaughlin-trained Closing Argument, and Blue Sunday, who is trained by Albertrani for Darley Stable. Both come off impressive career debuts at Saratoga.

Blue Sunday got an 87 Beyer Speed Figure for his 15-length win going 5 1/2 furlongs in the slop Aug. 13. At the OBS sale in April, Blue Sunday sold for $350,000, the fifth highest price of the auction.

Closing Argument won his only start by three lengths Aug. 25 and received an 82 Beyer. He comes from the first crop of Successful Appeal, the nation's leading sire of 2-year-olds this year, with 10 winners, including three in stakes.

The Sorority for 2-year-old fillies (race 7) will be a battle between Elke, the only two-time winner in the field, and Swither, a Darley Stable maiden with a good pedigree.

Elke, who won her maiden and a first-level allowance at Monmouth Park, will be heavily favored off her second-place finish in the Colleen Stakes on Aug. 7.

Swither has been third in both her starts, which were against New York-bred maidens, but the 67 Beyer she earned in her career debut compares favorably to Elke's best of a 60 in an allowance win.

Swither is part of the stallion Anees's first crop. She sold for $350,000 at the Fasig-Tipton sale in February.