04/16/2006 11:00PM

Pletcher still in Derby mix

Bluegrass Cat looked sharp before his dull effort in Blue Grass Stakes.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Todd Pletcher was down Monday morning, but he certainly is not out of the Kentucky Derby picture. Not yet, anyway.

Still, Pletcher isn't sure what to make of his situation in the wake of Bluegrass Cat's 21 1/4-length loss to Sinister Minister in Saturday's at Keeneland.

Pletcher, who was back at his Belmont Park headquarters Monday morning, said he had no tangible excuse for Bluegrass Cat's non-effort in the Bluegrass. Pletcher considers that race Bluegrass Cat's only bad performance, and is inclined to throw the race out and head to the May 6 Kentucky Derby anyway.

"Historically a lot of horses have run subpar races at Keeneland and come back and run really well the next time," Pletcher said. "On the flip side of that, a lot of horses run their lifetime best at Keeneland the next time they flop."

Bluegrass Cat had won three consecutive stakes races before running second to Deputy Glitters in the Tampa Bay Derby. While Bluegrass Cat was beaten as the 2-5 favorite in that race, Pletcher said: "If you look at any of the other figures, it was his lifetime best. Ragozin-wise it was the top, Beyer-wise it was the top."

Pletcher said he would watch how Bluegrass Cat trains the next few weeks before making a final decision. Pletcher is also going to take a wait-and-see approach with Keyed Entry, the third-place finisher in the Wood Memorial, who was flown to Kentucky from New York on Monday. Keyed Entry will work twice - this Sunday and April 30 - before Pletcher makes a decision.

"As far as I'm concerned both of those horses are in a position where they could run in the Kentucky Derby if I'm satisfied with the way they're training, but neither one of them has to run," Pletcher said.

Pletcher also has Sunriver pointed to the Kentucky Derby, but that horse doesn't have enough graded stakes earnings to get into the race. Pletcher is considering running him in Saturday's Grade 2, $325,000 Lexington Stakes, but he is fearful the speed-favoring nature of Keeneland would work against that colt's closing style.

Pletcher said he could try to train Sunriver up to the Derby and see if there are enough defections to get into the race. "If it happens fine, if it doesn't then we'll go on somewhere else," Pletcher said.

Miraculous Miss: Oaks or Acorn?

Miraculous Miss came out of her victory in last Saturday's Comely Stakes at Aqueduct well enough for her trainer, Steve Klesaris, to consider wheeling her back in the Kentucky Oaks on May 5. However, Klesaris said, it is more likely he would train the filly up to the Grade 1 Acorn on June 10 at Belmont.

"Right now we will take a hard look at the Oaks, but we'll probably wait for the Acorn," Klesaris said Monday morning. "There are so many good races you don't want to squeeze the lemon."

Her victory in the Comely kept Miraculous Miss undefeated on fast tracks (5 for 5). Her only loss came in the Old Hat Stakes, run over a sloppy track. She has yet to run around two turns or beyond one mile. The Kentucky Oaks is a two-turn, 1 1/8-mile race. The Acorn is a one-turn mile race.

Watching the Comely unfold, Klesaris wasn't sure Miraculous Miss would kick in. But, once she switched leads under Kent Desormeaux, Miraculous Miss rallied strongly down the center of Aqueduct's main track to win by 1 1/4 lengths. She earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 82.

"I don't think she appreciated being inside, catching excessive dirt," Klesaris said. "But once she switched leads she hits another gear. She's done it in all her races. She's exciting."

Dutrow may run two in Oaks

A year after running fourth in the Kentucky Oaks with 3-5 favorite Sis City, trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. is hoping to run two fillies in this year's Oaks. Wonder Lady Anne L is definite to run and, provided she can get in, Last Romance also will run.

Wonder Lady Anne L earned her shot by winning last year's Grade 2 Demoiselle at the Oaks distance of 1 1/8 miles. Though Wonder Lady Anne L is 0 for 2 this year - she finished third in the sloppy Davona Dale and second in the Bonnie Miss, both at Gulfstream - Dutrow is confident Wonder Lady Anne L will be ready for a big effort in the Oaks.

"She's put on weight, which I wanted her to do," Dutrow said. "She ran a couple of real good races back to back down there."

Wonder Lady Anne L remains in training at the Palm Meadows training center in Florida.

Last Romance is coming off a 5 1/2-length win the Wayward Lass Stakes at Aqueduct. Last Romance has no graded stakes earnings, and would not get into the race should it overfill. The Oaks is limited to 14 starters, and the field, like the Derby, is based on graded stakes earnings, should more than 14 enter.

Dutrow said he is considering Last Romance for the Oaks because of her last race, which came March 24, and the fact he doesn't see a standout in the Oaks.

"She just come off the race of her life," he said. "We gave her plenty of time to get over it, plenty of time to train her up to this race. If there were five tough ones that you don't want to mess with I wouldn't do it, but I don't see one in there that we don't want to mess with."

Is Wild Desert the next Saint Liam?

Dutrow plans to run Wild Desert, last year's Queens Plate winner, in the $150,000 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland on April 27. Wild Desert hasn't run since finishing fourth in the Prince of Wales last July 17, a race from which he emerged with a hind-end suspensory tear. Watching him train at Palm Meadows this winter, Dutrow has grown increasingly high on Wild Desert, a 4-year-old son of Wild Rush.

"He's the best horse I've been around since Saint Liam," Dutrow said, referring to last year's Horse of the Year, whom Dutrow trained. "He is a monster, a different horse now."

* Flip de Lite, who won Saturday's fifth race, had to be euthanized after fracturing her sesamoid bones and her shoulder when she fell after the race.