07/07/2008 11:00PM

Pletcher mare targets repeat in Del Cap


Unbridled Belle will try to become the fifth repeat winner and sixth two-time winner of the Delaware Handicap when she faces 10 other older fillies and mares in Sunday's 71st running of the $1 million race at Delaware Park.

A 5-year-old mare trained by Todd Pletcher, Unbridled Belle got post 9 at Tuesday morning's draw and was established as the track's 2-1 morning-line favorite. She will carry 122 pounds, one pound more than 3-1 second choice Hystericalady and three pounds more than Spring Waltz, the third choice at 5-1.

For the first time, the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap has been designated as a Win and You're In Breeders' Cup Challenge race, with the winner gaining a berth in the renamed Ladies' Classic at Santa Anita on Oct. 24.

A year ago, Unbridled Belle romped in the Del Cap by 7 3/4 lengths, the largest winning margin since the race was extened to 1 1/4 miles in 1951.

In her only start this year, Unbridled Belle won the local prep for the Del Cap, the $150,000 Obeah Stakes on June 14.

She retains her usual jockey, Ramon Dominguez, the leading rider at Delaware.

The last horse to win back-to-back runnings of Delaware's premier race was Nastique in 1988 and 1989. The other two-time winners are Endine (1958-59), Obeah (1969-70), Blessing Angelica (1971-72), and Susan's Girl, the winner in 1973 and 1975.

The Northern California-based Hystericalady, the Bobby Frankel-trained Spring Waltz, and locally based Buy the Barrel have the credentials to foil Unbridled Belle's bid to repeat.

Hystericalady, who missed by a neck to Ginger Punch in last fall's Breeders' Cup Distaff, is a two-time graded stakes winner this season. She won the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill Downs by 7 1/2 lengths in her most recent start.

Spring Waltz, who has been training at Belmont Park, comes into the Del Cap on a four-race winning streak. She has been freshened since winning the Grade 2 Rampart Handicap at Gulfstream Park in early March.

Buy the Barrel is trained by Larry Jones, who won the 2005 Del Cap with Island Sand. An improving 4-year-old, Buy the Barrel has won her last two starts, including the Grade 2 Allaire duPont Distaff at Pimlico last time out. She's listed at 8-1 on the track's morning line.

* Roman Emperor, winner of the $100,000 Barbaro at Pimlico, and Cherokee Artist, second in the Ohio Derby, head a field of six 3-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles in the Grade 3, $300,000 Barbaro Stakes.

* Silver Tree, idle since winning the Grade 3 Fort Marcy Handicap at Aqueduct in late April, seeks to defend his title in the $200,000 Cesar Rodney, at 1 1/8 miles on grass.

* Smart and Fancy, a four-length winner in the Buckland at Colonial Downs three weeks ago, tries to win the $100,000 Light Hearted, a five-furlong turf sprint for fillies and mares, for the second straight year.