05/26/2005 11:00PM

Pletcher stays positive on Ashado


ELMONT, N.Y. - Many people may be down on Ashado after she was beaten three-quarters of a length by the unheralded Silmaril in the Pimlico Distaff on May 20. Trainer Todd Pletcher is not one of them.

While naturally disappointed that Ashado lost - her second loss of the year - Pletcher said that according to the speed figures he uses, the Distaff was the second-fastest race Ashado has ever run. Last year's Cotillion, a race Ashado won before winning the Breeders' Cup Distaff, was her fastest, Pletcher said.

"So it was a move forward based on that," Pletcher said. "Considering it was an off track, I thought she ran well.

"Look, we were disappointed she didn't win - there's no way around that - but I thought so at the time and the figure backed up the fact that it was a pretty fastly run race. She ran well over a surface that I don't think is her favorite. She came out of it well. I would think her third start back would put her right on peak form."

Ashado's next start is likely to come in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap on June 18. Ashado is likely to face Society Selection and Daydreaming, the one-two finishers in the Shuvee run here on May 21.

Pletcher, who is running Forest Danger in Monday's Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, has laid out plans for several of his other stakes runners as well.

Pollard's Vision, who under John Velazquez finished second to Eddington in the Pimlico Special, is likely to make his next start in the $350,000 Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows on July 2. Pletcher said he was very happy with Pollard's Vision's race.

"He never was really able to get into position that Johnny wanted to get into," Pletcher said. "He was always stuck down inside, which I don't think was the best part of the track, in particular in a sloppy situation with a one-eyed horse. But he's so gutsy. He keeps trying no matter what the situation."

Spun Sugar, who won the Black-Eyed Susan, will make her next in the Grade 1 Mother Goose Stakes here June 25.

Half Ours, the undefeated 2-year-old who won the Three Chimneys Juvenile at Churchill Downs on Derby Day, missed a few days of training because of a cough. Pletcher said he would either run in the Flash Stakes on June 9 or the Tremont on July 4.

English Channel, winner of the Woodlawn at Pimlico on Preakness Day, is being pointed to the $500,000 Colonial Turf Cup at Colonial Downs on June 25.

Contrast heads Twist Afleet field

Contrast lived up to her regal bloodlines earlier this month, winning a six-furlong maiden race at first asking by four lengths and earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 105. A daughter of Unbridled out of the champion mare Safely Kept, Contrast will make her next start in Sunday's $60,000 Twist Afleet Stakes for 3-year-old fillies who have yet to win a stakes. The Twist Afleet is run at six furlongs.

Contrast ran six furlongs in 1:11.84, but the Delaware Park main track was yielding slow times for most sprint races that day. The 3-year-old colt Egg Head won the Francis "Jock" LaBelle Memorial in 1:11.28 and earned a Beyer of 112.

Contrast gives away experience to her eight rivals Sunday, including Slew Motion, the runner-up in the Grade 2 Nassau County Breeders' Cup Handicap, and Talented, a $700,000 daughter of Fusaichi Pegasus who won her maiden by eight lengths at Keeneland on April 27.

Megahertz may be coming East

First, Bobby Frankel pulled Megahertz out of consideration from the Monday's Grade 1 Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap. Now, Frankel said he is considering pulling her out of Southern California.

Frankel said that he is considering bringing Megahertz to Belmont Park for a start in the New York Handicap on July 2.

"California's loss may be New York's gain," said Frankel, who was upset with the 124 pounds assigned Megahertz for the Gamely. "She'd have to have firm turf though."

Megahertz, who won the Santa Barbara Handicap in her only start this year, has won 12 of 30 starts and banked nearly $1.7 million. Since coming to North American in 2002, Megahertz has raced outside of California only twice, finishing off the board both times on surfaces that were less than firm. She has won graded stakes at all three Southern California tracks.

"I'd say she's the most popular horse in California," Frankel said.

Galloping Grocer to undergo throat surgery

Galloping Grocer came out of his 13th-place finish in the Preakness Stakes with a lung infection and an ulcer on the back of his palate, trainer Dominick Schettino said. Schettino said Galloping Grocer would undergo a throat operation after the lung infection clears up.

"We'll fix him up and get him ready for Saratoga," Schettino said.