06/18/2008 11:00PM

Pletcher entry a study in contrast


OCEANPORT, N.J. - One filly loves the lead - the other prefers to stalk.

Together, Sumptuous and Lady Chace give trainer Todd Pletcher a tactically balanced duo for the $70,000 Dearly Precious Stakes on Saturday at Monmouth Park.

The six-furlong race drew nine 3-year-old fillies.

Lady Chace has plenty of early speed. She won her maiden at first asking here last summer, pulling away to a 10 3/4-length victory.

Stamina has been an issue in her stakes races. Most recently, Lady Chace overcame a stumble at the break to grab the lead in an overnight stakes at Belmont Park before tiring to finish fifth.

David Cohen will ride.

Sumptuous, on the other hand, likes to make her run from midpack. That strategy almost paid off in Monmouth's Just Smashing Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs on May 17 as she rallied to miss by only a half-length.

"She got blocked and had to come around the field," said assistant trainer Anthony Sciametta. "I think she should have won."

Jose Lezcano has the return call. The two Pletcher fillies race uncoupled in the wagering.

Hadavision is an in-demand filly who would be a major factor if she runs in this spot. Trainer Mark Shuman entered her in two other stakes: The $100,000 Lady Charles Town, 4 1/2 furlongs at Charles Town on Saturday night and the $55,000 Beautiful Day, six furlongs at Delaware Park on Monday.

"It does look like we'll be running at Monmouth," Shuman said. "I'm not sure 4 1/2 furlongs is her best distance. We'll take a look at the past performances and decide."

In her only start for Shuman, Hadavision won the Peach Blossom Stakes at Delaware on April 19.

"She's a nice filly who seems to be moving forward," Shuman said.

Stewart Elliott will ride.

Bill Mott and Nick Zito, a pair of Hall of Fame trainers, will have runners in the Dearly Precious.

Mott is sending out J Z Warrior, third by 9 1/2 lengths behind Zaftig last time out in the Grade 3 Nassau County Stakes at Belmont Park. This will be the fourth straight stakes appearance for the filly, who has hit the board in 5 of 6 starts.

Zito has Overandabeauty, who overcame a stumble at the break to get third in Belmont's Pearl City Stakes on May 24.

The $60,000 Anderson Fowler Stakes, the scheduled supporting stakes Saturday, did not fill. The race office will bring the race for 3-year-old grass sprinters back for Sunday.

Competition for horses an issue

Stakes conflicts are a continuing issue throughout the region, with too many tracks chasing the same horses. The situation with Hadavision, where she wound up entered in three different stakes in a three-day span, underscored the problem.

"The whole stakes schedule in the Mid-Atlantic needs to be revamped," Shuman said. "The tracks need to get together and work this out, especially when we have such a shortage of horses. Everybody says they want to do something about it, but nothing happens."

* Monmouth's popular Dawn Patrol backstretch will resume June 27 and be held Fridays and Saturdays through Aug. 30. The tram tour through the stable area is free, and guests are treated to coffee, juice, and pastries. Reservations are available at (732) 571-5542.