12/01/2005 12:00AM

Pletcher has strong hand in juvenile stakes


MIAMI - Trainer Todd Pletcher will reach down into his vast pool of 2-year-old talent to send out Capozzene and Saint Augustus as leading contenders in two of the four stakes at Calder on Saturday. Capozzene will run in the $100,000 Three Ring, and Saint Augustus will run in the $100,000 What a Pleasure Stakes.

Capozzene may prove the horse to beat in the Three Ring, a 1 1/16-mile race for juvenile fillies. Capozzene is already a stakes winner, having captured the Jr. Champion Stakes at Monmouth Park by 6 1/2 lengths in late August. She will be making her first start since finishing a tiring fourth in the Salem County Stakes on turf at The Meadowlands on Oct. 1.

"I really thought she'd take to the turf better than the dirt, but her main-track stakes win at Monmouth has been her best effort so far," said Pletcher. "She should improve coming off the grass, has been training well since coming down here to Palm Meadows, and this looks like a good spot for her."

Capozzene and jockey Jerry Bailey will likely try to sit just off the pace of California invader Golden Silk and local speedster Stolen Prayer in the Three Ring.

Like Capozzene, Golden Silk switches back to the main track, having finished a tiring third in her turf debut in the Hidden Lite Stakes at Santa Anita. Golden Silk is already graded stakes-placed on dirt, having finished third in the Grade 2 Oak Leaf at Santa Anita.

"Her biggest problem so far has been trying to get her to relax," said trainer James Cassidy.

Golden Silk will break from post 1 under jockey Jose Valdivia Jr., and if she doesn't relax, she could find herself in a speed duel with Stolen Prayer, who has yet to be headed early in five starts. Stolen Prayer is coming off a second-place finish behind Peach Flambe in the seven-furlong Joe O'Farrell Juvenile Fillies. She also finished a tiring second behind 50-1 outsider Consider Thesource when trying two turns for the only time in the 1 1/16-mile My Dear Girl Stakes on Oct. 15.

Stolen Prayer is trained by Eddie Plesa Jr., who also conditioned Three Ring.

Mia's Reflection lost what appeared to be her third stakes victory when she was disqualified from first and placed third in the John Franks Juvenile Fillies Turf. Mia's Reflection would be the major beneficiary of an early speed duel but must carry high weight of 121 pounds under the allowance conditions of the Three Ring.

Secret Brook and El Bank Robber complete the lineup.

Saint Augustus has done his best since Pletcher stretched him out around two turns earlier this fall. Saint Augustus won his maiden by 8 1/2 widening lengths going a mile and 70 yards on Oct. 19, then returned to finish third after engaging in an early speed duel 17 days later in the Storm Cat Stakes.

"He ran okay in the stakes, has already proven he can handle this kind of distance, and should improve a little more this go around," Pletcher said.

Saint Augustus faces a strong group in the 1 1/16-mile What a Pleasure, including Changing Weather, Flanders Fields, and Electrify, who is undefeated in three starts.

Changing Weather ran to his 8-5 backing when he won his debut this summer at Saratoga. He was compromised by trouble at the break when second to Private Vow in the Grade 2 Futurity and fifth to the Pletcher-trained Bluegrass Cat in the Grade 3 Nashua.

Flanders Fields lost his best chance when he bobbled at the start as the 3-2 favorite in the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5. In his previous start, Flanders Fields earned an 89 Beyer Speed Figure when he won his maiden by 6 1/2 lengths going a mile at Belmont.