07/11/2006 11:00PM

Pletcher has top two in Handicap


A pair of mares from Todd Pletcher's barn and a three-horse entry for Maryland-based trainer Dickie Small account for half the 10 horse field for Sunday's Delaware Handicap.

The $1 million Delaware Handicap, at 1 1/4 miles on the main track, highlights a 12-race card that includes three other stakes. The race will go as race 11, scheduled for 5:44 p.m.

Pletcher has both the track's 3-2 morning line favorite in Fleet Indian and the 7-2 second choice, La Reason. Small is bringing in the coupled trio of Dynamic Deputy, Sticky, and Take a Check - the collective third choice on the program at 6-1.

The 5-year-old Fleet Indian brings a five-race winning streak into the Delaware Handicap, including an easy score as the 1-5 favorite in last month's 1 1/8-mile Obeah Handicap.

La Reason has picked up small pieces of the purse in three consecutive Grade 1 and Grade 2 stakes in Kentucky and Arkansas.

Small stablemates Take a Check and Sticky finished noses apart, but 10 lengths behind Fleet Indian, in the Obeah. Dynamic Deputy has been freshened since winning her first career stakes against Maryland-breds in late May.

The Delaware Handicap field also includes Gallant Secret, third in the Grade 2 Louisville BC Handicap two races ago, and Friel's for Real, the fourth-place finisher in last year's running.

* Little Cliff, who was briefly on the road to the Triple Crown, and the lightly raced but highly talented Cat Criminal are among nine 3-year-olds in the Grade 3, $300,000 Leonard Richards at 1 1/16 miles. Trained by Nick Zito, who won this race last year with Sun King, Little Cliff was fourth in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby.

Cat Criminal, an impressive winner of his first two starts this season at Delaware, will be making his stakes debut.

Latent Heat would have been one of the favorites, but trainer Bobby Frankel intends to run him instead in Saturday's Long Branch at Monmouth.

* Icy Atlantic, coming off a stakes win at the Meadowlands a month ago, merits a slight edge in the $200,000 Caesar Rodney, at 1 1/8 miles on turf. The 12-horse field, which includes two entered for the main track only, also includes Exterior, who was competitive against Grade 2 horses in California and New York last season, and Woodlander, winner of the Grade 3 Lexington at Belmont in 2005.

* Trickle of Gold, who boasts a 7-for-10 record locally, tops a group of six older female sprinters in the $100,000 Light Hearted Stakes.