06/30/2008 12:00AM

Pletcher seeks a repeat of stakes sweep


ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Todd Pletcher swept the Astoria and Tremont when they were run on the same day last year and he seeks to do it again Sunday when those historic stakes for 2-year-olds are run at Belmont Park.

Pletcher has won the last two Tremonts, including last year with Ready's Image. He will send out probable odds-on favorite Mr Mistoffelees in the 116th renewal of that race. Pletcher, who won last year's Astoria with Glacken's Gal, seeks to win it for the third time in four years with Pride. Both races are run at 5 1/2 furlongs.

Mr Mistoffelees, a son of Storm Cat, lived up his $1.5 million price tag when he won his debut at Keeneland on April 24 by 9 1/4 lengths. He ran strong early fractions of 21.48 seconds and 43.89 and completed 4 1/2 furlongs in 50.02 seconds.

"He ran as well as a first-time starter could ever run," Pletcher said. "He's super fast, and the scary thing is if you watch the race he was doing it with his ears pricked and Johnny [Velazquez] sitting still on him. He did all that on a synthetic surface, and now we're switching to regular dirt. That's always a change. We'll see how that goes."

Mr Mistoffelees, who faces only four horses, will break from the rail under Velazquez.

Regardlesofoutcome finished third to Mr Mistoffelees in that April 24 race, then came back to win a maiden race by 7 3/4 lengths on May 21. He has since fired two bullet works at Keeneland.

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. supplemented the New York-bred Dagnabit to the Tremont. He came from off the pace to win his debut on June 15 and would benefit from a duel between the top two.

John Salzman sends Essenceofthemoon and Houseful up from Maryland.

Pride, a daughter of Lion Heart, overcame post 12 to win her debut at Keeneland by 1 1/4 lengths, running 4o1/2 furlongs in 50.84 seconds.

"I thought she ran very well," Pletcher said. "She had the outside post, she overcame that, and ran a good race."

Bold Union was visually impressive winning her debut at first asking for trainer Kelly Breen at Monmouth on June 1. A daughter of Dixie Union, Bold Union broke like a rocket and won by 10 3/4 lengths while taken in hand late by Stewart Elliott. She will break from post 6.

Golden Artemis, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, comes off a two-length debut win here in the mud going five furlongs on June 5.