05/22/2008 11:00PM

Pletcher, Kenneally double up


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Trainers Hugh Robertson and Merrill Scherer are coming into Sunday's Fit for a Queen Stakes at Arlington undermanned. Robertson entered Dimple Pinch in the race, and Scherer put in Kindling, but those one-horse entries are only half the horseflesh trainers Eddie Kenneally and Todd Pletcher have going in the Fit for a Queen.

From Pletcher's Arlington string come both Featherbed and Mini Sermon, while Kentucky-based Kenneally has Victorianna and Dhanyata for the Fit for a Queen, a 6 1/2-furlong $50,000 overnight stakes on the Arlington Polytrack.

Pletcher entered two horses and scratched one from an overnight stakes here a couple weeks ago, but the scratched horse in that race was based at Churchill. Featherbed and Mini Sermon have been training at Arlington, so both could easily run, while Kenneally, when asked if he intended to actually start both his horses, said, "Right now, yes."

On the surface, Victorianna looks like Kenneally's better chance, while Mini Sermon may be the more potent of the two Pletcher horses. Victorianna, a fairly lightly raced 4-year-old filly, is something of a Polytrack specialist, with sharp performances over the synthetic tracks at both Turfway, where she was a close second two starts ago in the Queen Stakes, and Keeneland, where she won a second-level allowance race by three lengths on April 16.

"She's a good filly and she's improving," Kenneally said. "She won quite impressively at Keeneland."

It may be merely a quibble, and it may not even be so, but Victorianna's form gives hints that she may show her best at six furlongs, and not necessarily 6 1/2. The same might be said of Dhanyata, who was a top 2-year-old filly in England in 2006, but did not race between October of that year and March 2008. Twice-started since joining Kenneally's barn, Dhanyata was a close fourth in the Grade 3 Hendrie at Woodbine on May 11.

Mini Sermon, on the other hand, may be hard-pressed to rally in time to win at this sprint distance. An overnight stakes winner around two turns on this racetrack last summer, Mini Sermon broke last of 11 in her most recent start, the Grade 2 Madison Stakes at Keeneland, and could manage only an eighth-place finish.

Featherbed nearly won the Grade 1 Matron in 2006, but has since evolved into more of a listed-stakes-type performer, at best. She makes her Polytrack debut Sunday under Jesse Campbell, while leading rider Rene Douglas took the call on Mini Sermon.