11/10/2007 12:00AM

Pletcher, Asmussen battle again

EmailLOUISVILLE, Ky. - There are only so many ways to frame it: Asmussen versus Pletcher, or Pletcher versus Asmussen.

This storyline is played out frequently at racetracks across America, and for fans who have grown weary of it, the youthful trainers destined for the Hall of Fame might have this to say: "It's all about us - deal with it."

Indeed, the rematch of Inca King and Distorted Reality in the $150,000 Commonwealth Turf at Churchill Downs could be all about them Sunday. When the 3-year-old turf specialists met last month in the Bryan Station Stakes at Keeneland, Inca King, trained by Asmussen, won at 10-1, while Distorted Reality, trained by Pletcher, ran second as the even-money favorite.

Seven others join them in the Commonwealth Turf, a 1 1/16-mile race carded as the ninth of 10 Sunday races. Inca King, with Shaun Bridgmohan riding again, will start from post 8, just to the inside of Distorted Reality, who retains Rafael Bejarano when breaking from the far outside.

Inca King, winner of the Grade 2 Jefferson Cup in June over the Churchill turf course, was the only North American graded stakes winner entered in the Oct. 14 Bryan Station, but he was sent away at such high odds because his two preceding races were clunkers: ninth in the Virginia Derby and ninth in the DeBartolo Memorial. He rebounded to post the top Beyer Speed Figure of his career, 96, when drawing off to win the Bryan Station by nearly four lengths.

Distorted Reality was the solid choice in the Bryan Station after finishing no worse than third in each of his four prior starts, all of them turf stakes. Clearly the Distorted Humor colt is a consistent type who always merits respect.

If the Commonwealth Turf turns out to be about someone else, it could be another prominent trainer who has enjoyed a sensational second half of the year: Bill Mott, the leading trainer at the Saratoga and Keeneland meets, whose local string had accounted for 6 wins from their first 17 starts at the Churchill fall meet. Mott sends out Equitable for his stakes debut following a Saratoga maiden win and a Keeneland allowance triumph in his last two starts.

The rest of the field is Slew's Tizzy, Elite Squadron, Warn, Sedgefield, Voy Por Uno Mas, and Prom Shoes. Of those, Slew's Tizzy and Sedgefield both were fringe players earlier this year on the Triple Crown trail.