09/05/2005 12:00AM

Pletcher, Honey Ryder close as winners


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Todd Pletcher capped his fourth consecutive Saratoga training title in style on Monday as Honey Ryder won the Grade 3 , the closing-day feature of the 36-day Saratoga meet.

The Glens Falls victory was the last of 22 wins for Pletcher this summer. Pletcher also won the training title in 1998. John Velazquez, who finished second in the jockey standings to Edgar Prado, rode Honey Ryder to his meet-leading 15th stakes win.

Velazquez gave Honey Ryder ($6.60) a perfectly timed, rail-skimming ride to hold off even-money favorite Film Maker by a neck. Honey Ryder covered 1 3/8 miles over a firm turf course in 2:14.51. Banyu Dewi, who raced in foal, finished three-quarters of a length behind Film Maker in third. The final day attendance was 19,519.

"She had a beautiful trip, but she was game," Pletcher said. "Film Maker came to her and she dug in. In a three-turn race, saving ground is obviously crucial."

In a field of six, Love Match set a moderate pace until the third and final turn. Velazquez kept Honey Ryder along the rail in fourth until the stretch, finding a clear path at the top of the lane and taking the lead at the eighth pole.

As Velazquez drove Honey Ryder along the rail, jockey Todd Kabel swung Film Maker three wide, but she had her momentum stopped twice in the stretch as she lugged out and did not switch leads until about the final 70 yards.

"I had a hard time keeping my filly's head straight, and she didn't want to switch leads," said Kabel, who rode Film Maker for the first time. "That cost me some momentum."

Honey Ryder, owned by Glencrest Farm, has significantly improved as a 4-year-old. The Glens Falls marks her third graded-stakes victory of the year. She won the Grade 3 The Very One Handicap and Grade 2 Orchid Handicap at Gulfstream earlier this year.