07/22/2004 11:00PM

Pletcher maiden dangerous in stakes


Why might a maiden who has yet to finish better than third merit more attention in Sunday's $50,000 Tippett Stakes at Colonial Downs than any of the four fillies who are coming off wins?

The answer involves sharp connections and a classy pedigree.

Madison Dollie is winless in her first two starts. But as a grand-daughter of Storm Cat, she sold for $120,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale. She's trained by Todd Pletcher, who has won with two of the first three horses he has run at the current Colonial meet and boasts a record of 4-4-2 in 13 stakes starts on turf for his 2-year-olds the past three years.

Given those facts, and the early speed she flashed in a longer turf sprint at Belmont Park, Madison Dollie figures to be well-supported at the windows in the Tippett, a 5 1/2-furlong grass sprint for 2-year-old fillies.

The logical favorite based on proven form is Heartful Hero, who cruised to a 4 3/4-length victory when she was tried on turf for the first time in a June 13 maiden race at Colonial. Her 61 Beyer Speed Figure is just two points higher than Madison Dollie received for her third-place finish against maidens in New York.

Skipping Wild also fits, even though her Tomlinson turf rating of 247 is far below average. She defeated 10 rivals in her career debut on the grass, earning a 55 Beyer, and figures to improve in her second start and with the addition of Lasix.

Among those who have yet to race on turf, Northern Babe should take to the surface, based on bloodlines. Her sire's sire is Danzig, three times America's leading sire. Danzig's offspring include 20 champions, including two-time Breeders' Cup Mile winner Lure.