01/12/2007 12:00AM

Pletcher reveals map for 2007

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Todd Pletcher may be out of sight while serving the remainder of a 45-day suspension for a positive drug test on one of his horses in New York. But the Eclipse Award-winning trainer is never out of mind, especially during the Gulfstream Park meet, which he has dominated for the last three years.

Pletcher turned the reins over to his assistant Anthony Sciametta Jr. until the end of his suspension, scheduled for Feb. 10. And he remains hard at work mapping out plans for his star-studded barn, which includes more than a half-dozen horses coming off their 2006 finales in the Breeders' Cup.

Pletcher figures to be particularly strong again this year in the 3-year-old division, with such young talent as Circular Quay, Scat Daddy, Octave, and Cotton Blossom all preparing for their 2007 debuts.

Circular Quay and Scat Daddy, the second- and fourth-place finishers behind the winning Street Sense in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, will take different paths this winter in hopes of attaining the same goal: a starting berth in the Kentucky Derby.

"Both colts have been on similar schedules," said Pletcher. "I let each of them down a little bit after the Breeders' Cup, but they've been training steadily and both had their first five-furlong breezes last Sunday.

"Circular Quay is currently at Hollywood Park with my assistant Mike McCarthy. I'm pointing him for the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby because with his come-from-behind style I felt the long stretch at the Fair Grounds would suit him well.

"Scat Daddy is at Palm Beach Downs and will return in the Holy Bull Stakes on Feb. 3. He'll stay down here because I think he'll appreciate the five weeks between the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby if all goes well for him this winter."

Octave and Cotton Blossom finished second and third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, chasing home wire-to-wire winner Dreaming of Anna, who is also training this winter in south Florida.

"Octave developed a little temperature down here and lost some time, so she might not make the February races," said Pletcher. "I'm hoping to get one race into her before the Ashland.

"Cotton Blossom just arrived from Cot Campbell's farm in Aiken [S.C.] on Wednesday. She'll have her first breeze at the beginning of next week."

In the handicap division, Pletcher returns Magna Graduate, Master Command, and A.P. Arrow, who all could start in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap on Feb. 3.

"Magna Graduate is definite for the Donn," said Pletcher. "Master Command and A.P. Arrow could start in the Donn or in the Mineshaft at the Fair Grounds."

Pletcher's multiple Grade 1-winning distaff turf star Wait a While was given some time off after having her four-race win streak snapped in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

"She won't run until March, and the plan is to keep her on the grass all year," said Pletcher.

Pletcher had a barn full of filly and mare handicap stars in 2006, including Eclipse Award favorite Fleet Indian, Grade 1 winners Spun Sugar and Pool Land, and Oonagh Maccool. But of that group, only Oonagh Maccool will return in 2007.

"I just read where Spun Sugar was retired, so I guess I'm not getting her back," Pletcher said with a laugh. "But Oonagh Maccool is still with us and she should make her first start in the Sabin [Feb. 17]. I also have India possible for that race. Honey Ryder won't run until later in the meet, probably in The Very One [Feb. 25]."

Pletcher also gets three-time Grade 1 winner and Breeders' Cup Turf third-place finisher English Channel back for another year.

"We'll probably go to Dubai with him in March and try to get one start for him here prior to that," said Pletcher. "Maybe in the Canadian Turf."

English Channel is the defending champion in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf Handicap, to be run Feb. 3.

Go Deputy, yet another Grade 1 winner in 2006, is not likely to see action here this winter.

"We gave him some time off in Ocala after the Breeders' Cup and he won't be back in training until March," said Pletcher.

Grade 1 winners top First Lady nominees

Grade 1 winners Splendid Blended, Malibu Mint, and Swap Fliparoo top a list of 20 fillies and mares nominated for Saturday's Grade 3 First Lady Handicap.

Splendid Blended, who won the Grade 2 Shirley Jones Breeders' Cup Handicap here last winter, has not started since her victory in an overnight stakes at Calder on Dec. 3. A daughter of Unbridled's Song, she is trained by Bill Mott for owner-breeder Peter Vegso.

Malibu Mint, winner of Calder's Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap in July, closed out her 2006 campaign winning Aqueduct's Gradeo2 Top Flight Handicap on the disqualification of Rahys' Appeal.

Swap Fliparoo won Saratoga's Grade 1 Test but was winless in her final three starts at 3.

* Longshots dominated the early portion of Friday's card, beginning with first-time starter Margarita Kid, who paid $61.20 after winning the opener under little-known rider Deudis Pena-Mora. Irish Rogue ($40.40) completed a $1,078.60 early daily double with his victory in the second race. They were followed by Art and Soul ($25) in the third race and Silversandsoftime ($95.60) in the fourth. The longshot brigade continued in the fifth race with Sacrifice Bunt ($25.60) and the sixth race with Joanne's Paulus ($28.60).