10/08/2008 12:00AM

Pletcher in driver's seat with Phola


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Are there any other bingos out there? Not after Thursday. That's when the 57th and last Win and You're In race for the Oct. 24-25 Breeders' Cup will be run, with the winning 2-year-old filly eligible to proceed directly from the Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland to the inaugural BC Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita.

More than the 12-horse limit has been entered in the $150,000 Jessamine, with Todd Pletcher rating a decent chance to continue his recent dominance of the 1 1/16-mile turf race with Phola, a Johannesburg filly who will start from post 10. In all, 14 were entered, with It's Tiffin Time and More of the Best relegated to the also-eligibles list.

Phola, owned by a partnership that includes Pletcher's father, J.J., comes off a third-place finish in the Arlington-Washington Futurity, a Sept. 6 race that followed a victory in her Aug. 2 career debut. The Jessamine will mark her first try on turf.

Pletcher has won three of the last six runnings of the Jessamine, with Ocean Drive (2002), Paddy's Daisy (2004), and J'ray (2005).

There is no shortage of capable challengers in the Jessamine. Habaya won her lone start in a maiden turf race at Belmont Park. Complicity was a sharp runner-up in her second start, the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies. Hint of Lemon flashed her wares in capturing a maiden turf race as a big favorite at Woodbine, while Laragh, Never Lie, and Lake Cook also have shown considerable promise early in their careers.

And don't overlook Abbott Hall, whose trainer, Hal Wiggins, won the 2006 Jessamine with Swingit. Abbott Hall, with Robby Albarado to ride, is one of two stakes winners in the field, having run off with the $150,000 Happy Ticket on the Sept. 20 Super Derby undercard at Louisiana Downs.

"We're hoping to make airline reservations to California after the race," said Wiggins, the leading trainer at the 1998 Keeneland fall meet. "This filly seems like she's pretty nice."

Glamorous Gal, winner of a small turf sprint stakes at Colonial Downs in July, is the other stakes winner in the field.

The Jessamine was known as the Green River during its first 12 runnings (1991-2002). The 18th running goes as the eighth of nine races on a Thursday card that also includes three allowances (races 4, 5, and 7).