10/25/2004 11:00PM

Paddy's Daisy classier, faster


John Velazquez winning a race aboard a Todd Pletcher-trained horse is a regular sight in New York. It happens less frequently in Kentucky, probably because they are often busy winning elsewhere.

That may change Thursday, when Velazquez and Pletcher - the leading money-earning jockey and trainer in North America - are represented by Paddy's Daisy in the $100,000 Jessamine County Stakes at Keeneland.

A victory appears likely in the Jessamine County, a turf contest for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on turf. Paddy's Daisy is the only entrant that has won more than a maiden race on turf. In her last start Oct. 2, she won the Salem County Stakes at the Meadowlands by 2 1/4 lengths.

is also the fastest member of the field. She earned an 80 Beyer Speed Figure in winning the Salem County and a 76 Beyer for her fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Natalma at Woodbine in September.

Those numbers are well off-par for the race - the last 10 Jessamine County winners have averaged an 85 Beyer - but they far exceed the speed figures of her opponents Thursday. The highest Beyer earned by any of her nine rivals is a 73, which Albany County earned in winning her maiden at Belmont on Oct. 14.

A $325,000 purchase earlier this year, Albany County looms the likely second choice in the wagering. Trained by George Weaver, she showed vast improvement in her maiden victory after finishing seventh when making her debut on dirt at Saratoga in August. Robby Albarado has the mount.

might have the best chance of those not pounded by the betting public. After running third in the La Senorita Stakes at Retama on grass, she was second in the slop behind Enduring Will in the Silver Spur Stakes at Lone Star on Oct. 4.

Our Miss Jones, Gentle Breeze, Bold Passage, Dependability, Berbatim, Devine Force, and Jules Best complete the field.

* The rest of the Thursday card comprises several races with short fields, and four of the first five races are for claiming or maiden claiming horses.

The richest race supporting the Jessamine County is the seventh, a $59,000 money allowance that drew six sprinters, including Coach Jimi Lee and Deer Lake.