10/20/2004 11:00PM

Pletcher sends a pair in competitive Ticonderoga


ELMONT, N.Y. - Handicappers will have a difficult time settling on a favorite for Saturday's $150,000 Ticonderoga Handicap on New York Showcase Day at Belmont Park.

Seven of the 12 runners in the 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares carry 118 pounds as the co-highweights. There are four also-eligibles.

Trainer Todd Pletcher has a coupled entry of .

Beebe Lake, third in last year's Ticonderoga, finished fifth in the Voodoo Dancer Stakes against open company in her last start. She was beaten three lengths.

"I thought it was one of her best races," Pletcher said. "The race put her in a good position for this race."

Little Buttercup, who makes her stakes debut, won her last start and hasn't finished worse than third in 11 career starts.

"She's in extra good form right now," Pletcher said.

Sabellina won the Yaddo at Saratoga to cap a four-race win streak. In two starts since, Sabellina finished off the board in the Voodoo Dancer and the Grade 3 Pebbles.

Sabellina finished sixth in the Pebbles after a quick move going down the backstretch. She challenged the pacesetter and eventual winner, Fortunate Damsel, around the turn.

"Jorge said she was too tough to hold," said trainer Joe Aquilino, referring to Sabellina's rider, Jorge Chavez. "She angled five wide and made a big sweeping move from last to first. It was a premature move."

Aquilino made a rider switch to Richard Migliore.

Bobbie Use, who won the Tropical Oaks in January, hasn't run since March because of problems with her feet, according to trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. Dutrow said he is very pleased with the way Bobbie Use has been training.

"She's going to run a big race," he said.

On the Bus hasn't run since finishing second in the Yaddo. A winner of 2 of 3 starts at Belmont, her better races have come over courses with some give to them, and she should get those conditions Saturday.

A horse that might be overlooked in the betting because of her low-profile trainer, Ken Streicher, is Buck Mountain. When Streicher put blinkers on Buck Mountain two starts back, she showed vast improvement. She finished a close second against open company in her last start.