10/06/2005 11:00PM

Pletcher ship-in alert

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Four-Footed Fotos
Isola Piu Bella was off the board in her last start, but trainer Todd Pletcher expects her to run well Sunday.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Although based primarily in New York, the Todd Pletcher stable has packed quite a wallop on the Kentucky circuit this year.

Pletcher, the nation's leading trainer with more than $14 million in earnings, already has invaded the Bluegrass state to win the Lane's End with Flower Alley, the Blue Grass with Bandini, the Lexington with Coin Silver, the Doubledogdare with Colony Band, the Three Chimneys Juvenile with Half Ours, and the Kentucky Cup Classic with Shaniko.

And Pletcher is hoping that that is not all. Sunday, when Keeneland runs the showcase race of its fall meet, the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes, Pletcher figures as major threat to add to that impressive list. He will have the likely favorite, Isola Piu Bella, and another contender, Capeside Lady, in a field of 11 fillies and mares in the Grade 1 Spinster.

, a 5-year-old Chilean-bred, is unraced since July 17, when she finished eighth by 17 lengths in the Delaware Handicap. Pletcher said to forget that race and focus on the mare's more typical efforts, such as her earlier victories in the Sabin, Sixty Sails, and Obeah handicaps.

"Basically everything went awry in Delaware, even before the race started," said Pletcher. "It was really, really hot that day, and she didn't seem to handle that very well. Then she was fractious in the gate, and she just never fired."

Duly regrouped, Isola Piu Bella is ready to return to form, said Pletcher. "Since Delaware, she's trained well, and we've covered our bases by schooling her in the paddock and the gate quite a bit," he said. "I expect her to go over and run her race Sunday."

Isola Piu Bella, with John Velazquez to ride, will break from post 6.

Isola Piu Bella is not nominated to the Breeders' Cup, so her owner, the Sumaya Us Stables, would have to pay a $400,000 supplementary fee to run her Oct. 29 in the $2 million BC Distaff. "Obviously she has to run well to consider that," said Pletcher. "But if she does, then it will be considered. Just say it's not out of the question."

(post 8), a speedy 4-year-old New York-bred filly, "should like the two turns at Keeneland," said Pletcher. "I'd say she should be competitive with most of those fillies Sunday."

Besides the Pletcher duo, top contenders in the 50th running of the 1 1/8-mile Spinster include (post 7), the reigning south Florida queen who had three hotly contested meetings with Isola Piu Bella last winter at Gulfstream Park; Pleasant Home, who drew the rail and is shipping in from New York for trainer Shug McGaughey; and Bending Strings, a consistent filly who also draws favorably (post 3) with Gary Stevens riding.

The rest of the field is Santa Candida, Winning Season, Tamweel, Go Girlfriend Go, Miss Fortunate, and Halory Leigh.

(post 10) has a tough post, but if the mare is as gritty as she was in winning the Turfway Breeders' Cup in her latest start, she is eligible to hit the board at a hefty price.

The Spinster is weight-for-age, the older horses carrying 123 pounds and the lone 3-year-old in the field, Winning Season, carrying 120.

The Spinster lost a solid threat when trainer Tom Proctor declared Indy Groove, winner of the Arlington Matron, for an undisclosed reason. "We're just not running," he said.

The Spinster was sponsored in the late 1990's by Three Chimneys, then from 2001-04 by Overbrook Farm. The Juddmonte Farms of Prince Khalid Abdullah came on as the new signature sponsor earlier this year.

The Spinster is the eighth of nine races on a card that also includes the $400,000 WinStar Galaxy and the $100,000 Woodford County Stakes.

The field

Spinster Stakes
Purse: $500,000; 1 1/8 miles; Grade 1

PPHORSEJOCKEYWT.ODDS
1Pleasant HomeC. Velasquez1236-1
2Santa CandidaO. Berrio12330-1
3Bending StringsG. Stevens1234-1
4Winning SeasonM. Smith12020-1
5TamweelJ. Bailey1238-1
6Isola Piu BellaJ. Velazquez1235-2
7Pampered PrincessE. Castro1238-1
8Capeside LadyC. DeCarlo1236-1
9Go Girlfriend GoJacinto12350-1
10Miss FortunateL. Melancon12315-1
11Halory LeighC. Perret1238-1

* Odds by DRF