01/17/2009 12:00AM

Pletcher showing confidence with Game Face


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - A hint to handicappers trying to figure out Sunday's $100,000 First Lady Handicap: Todd Pletcher really likes his chances with Game Face in the six-furlong Grade 3 race for older fillies and mares.

A confident Pletcher should be enough to sway most of the public attention to Game Face, a multiple graded-stakes winner at 3 who first earned national attention over this same Gulfstream Park course one year ago when dominating the Grade 3 Old Hat.

Game Face made only four more starts following her seven-length triumph in the Old Hat. She was second here in the Grade 2 Davona Dale, captured the Grade 3 La Troienne at Churchill Downs, and was a distant third in the Grade 1 Acorn before going to the sidelines for more than five months. She returned to close out the campaign with a victory over older allowance horses at Churchill on Nov. 15.

"She didn't come out of the Acorn moving that well and obviously didn't run her 'A' race that day," said Pletcher. "But her comeback race was nice, and we've been pointing for the First Lady ever since. She's training the best she's ever trained, loves the track, and I'm really looking forward to running her Sunday."

Game Face will take on a field that includes several multiple stakes winners, led by Any Limit, a two-time Grade 2 winner last year for trainer Allen Jerkens.

Any Limit, now 6, won the First Flight and Honorable Miss handicaps within a four-week span last summer in New York, although she closed out the season on a down note, finishing sixth in a pair of graded stakes, including the Grade 2 Top Flight.

Slewfoundmoney, who was outgamed by Pletcher-trained Leah's Secret when second in the Top Flight, is also a key contender in the First Lady.

Slewfoundmoney, a versatile sort, won a pair of stakes for trainer Marty Wolfson last fall at Calder, one at six furlongs and the other around two turns. She figures to be coming on strongest turning back to a sprint on Sunday.

J Z Warrior closed out her 3-year-old campaign with a flourish, winning a pair of six-furlong stakes for trainer Bill Mott. She figures to be an early pace factor in the First Lady along with Any Limit and the speedy Calder-based runner Freedom Afleet.

Completing the lineup are Orinoquia, who was a multiple stakes winner last season at Calder, Saratoga Tango, and Awsugahnow.