07/15/2010 1:09PM

Pletcher has threats in both Monmouth stakes

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OCEANPORT, N.J. − Trainer Todd Pletcher has already won five stakes at the Monmouth Park meet, and he has a legitimate chance to sweep Saturday’s co-features, the Klassy Briefcase and the Serena’s Song Stakes.

The Klassy Briefcase, named after the prolific turf sprinter who set a world record over the Monmouth course, is for fillies and mares ages 3 and up and will be run at 5 1/2 furlongs on the grass. The Serena’s Song, restricted to 3-year-old fillies, will be run at one mile and 70 yards on the main track. Both races carry a purse of $100,000.

Pletcher, who leads the Monmouth trainer standings with 14 wins and $1,105,600 in earnings, will be represented by West Ocean in the Klassy Briefcase, which drew a field of nine.

West Ocean has not raced since April, but she comes off consecutive open-length wins in turf sprint stakes: the Bienville at about 5 1/2 furlongs at Fair Grounds and the Giants Causeway at five furlongs at Keeneland.

West Ocean earned 98 Beyers in both races. If she runs to those figures in the Klassy Briefcase, she will be very tough once again.

Pletcher had considered sending West Ocean to Royal Ascot after her win in the Giants Causeway, but he said he wasn’t completely happy with the way she was working.

“She wasn’t training as keenly as we would have liked, so we backed off on her and freshened her up,” he said. “She’s worked exceptionally well lately, though, and based on her training I’d say she’s ready.”

Garrett Gomez will ride West Ocean for the first time in the Klassy Briefcase, the eighth of 12 races on the Saturday card.

Candy Cane could be the main threat under Joe Bravo, the meet’s leading rider. She comes off a second-place finish behind four-time stakes winner Starfish Bay in the Candy Eclair Stakes over this course. Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said he expects another good effort from Candy Cane, who will make her third start off a layoff Saturday.

“I think she’ll run the same kind of race,” Dutrow said.

Pletcher has two fillies entered in the Serena’s Song, Classic Affair and Happy Week, but Pletcher said he is leaning toward running only Happy Week. A chestnut filly who is shipping in from Churchill, Happy Week was originally expected to run in Sunday’s Dearly Precious Stakes, but that race failed to fill.

Classic Affair is likely to scratch. It is not what Pletcher had hoped − “I’m hoping to get Classic Affair some black-type,” he said − but it may be a blessing in disguise. Though she improved her Beyers in her two starts this year, Happy Week lost both of those sprints. Her lone win came in a route last year at the Meadowlands.

Gomez was named on both Classic Affair and Happy Week.

Despite lacking experience going long on the main track, Millenia may be the main threat in the Serena’s Song. She comes off a win in her turf debut at Churchill Downs, earning the best Beyer of her short career, an 82. It remains to be seen whether it was the grass or the extra distance that moved her up. Eddie Castro picks up the mount for trainer Ronny Werner.

The Serena’s Song was named in honor of the filly who won the Haskell and champion 3-year-old filly honors in 1995. It is the 11th race on the Saturday card, which kicks off at 12:50 p.m.