01/01/2010 12:00AM

Pletcher duo aim to finish strong

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Distorted Passion will make likely the final start of her career in Friday's Interborough Stakes at Aqueduct.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Friday may be the start of a new year, but Friday's $65,000 Interborough Stakes at Aqueduct marks the beginning of the end of the racing careers of Awesome Ashley and Distorted Passion.

The 6-year-old Awesome Ashley, who figures to be a strong favorite in the six-furlong Interborough, will likely be making the penultimate start of her career. Meanwhile, the Interborough will be the last race for the 5-year-old Distorted Passion before she is to be sold at the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale that begins Jan. 11.

Both mares, trained by Todd Pletcher, are still running at this time of year because of their proficiency over Aqueduct's inner track. Awesome Ashley is 3 for 6 over the inner, including a neck victory in last month's Garland of Roses run over a sloppy track. Awesome Ashley is likely to be retired after the Correction Stakes on Jan. 30.

"She really likes the inner track at Aqueduct and she's really training well at the moment," said Jonathan Thomas, Pletcher's New York-based assistant.

Awesome Ashley, who does her best running from off the pace, will break from post 5 under Anna Napravnik in the Interborough, which goes as race 3 on Aqueduct's nine-race card.

Distorted Passion is 2 for 5 over the inner track and finished third in the Garland of Roses after making the lead in midstretch. Javier Castellano, who rode four winners on Wednesday's card, has the mount from the rail.

"She's been a really good filly for us," said Thomas, who saddled two more winners for Pletcher on Wednesday, bringing the stable's record at the meet to 12 for 24. "We hope to send her out on a winning note. She certainly showed a lot of improvement from her first start back. I guess were hoping she makes a similar progression."

Saarlight, who was expected to be the main speed in the Interborough, was not entered because her connections felt this race was too close back to her allowance win on Dec. 10. Without Saarlight, East Breaks figures to be the speed from post 2 under Ramon Dominguez.

Casanova Killer has shown some speed in the past but rated in the Garland of Roses, in which she finished sixth.

Camara Oculta, who finished second in a fourth-level allowance race at Charles Town on Dec. 5, was supplemented to this race for $650 by owner Charles Miller and trainer Michael Trombetta. In her last trip to New York, Camara Oculta finished last in the In Her Glory Stakes.