07/02/2007 12:00AM

Pletcher sweeps Belmont stakes


ELMONT, N.Y. - It appears as if trainer Todd Pletcher's 2-year-old crop is as strong as ever as he won both juvenile stakes run at Belmont Park on Sunday. Jockey John Velazquez was aboard both winners.

Ready's Image, equipped with blinkers for the first time, rolled to a 7 3/4-length victor over longshot Izzy Speaking in the $110,600 Tremont for males. An hour earlier, Glacken's Gal won a three-way battle for the lead then fended off a challenge from odds-on favorite Dubit in the stretch to win the $109,300 Astoria for fillies by two lengths.

For Pletcher, it was his fourth victory in the Tremont and third in the Astoria.

Ready's Image was just as impressive in the Tremont as his father More Than Ready was winning this race in 1999. After dueling for the early lead with Nordic Wind, Ready's Image drew clear to the open-length score in 1:02.86, his second win from three starts. More Than Ready won the Tremont by 4 1/2 lengths in 1:02.56.

"It's scary how much he reminds us of More Than Ready and that's why we bought him," said Pletcher, who trains Ready's Image for Jim Scatuorchio, who also owned More Than Ready. "I have to give my dad [Jake] a lot of credit for both him and Glacken's Gal because he picked them both out, broke them and had them ready for us."

Pletcher added blinkers to Ready's Image after the colt had broken slowly in each of his first two starts. Sunday, he broke on top before settling just off Nordic Wind through an opening quarter run in 21.86 seconds.

"The first two times, he was not breaking good," Velazquez said. "Today, with blinkers on, he broke good and it was all him."

Pletcher said Ready's Image could run in the Sanford at Saratoga on July 26 or wait for the Saratoga Special on Aug. 15. Pletcher also has The Roundhouse, an impressive debut winner at Monmouth, pointed to the Sanford.

Glacken's Gal, the only New York-bred in the six-horse Astoria, put away early pace challenges from Pure and Simple and My Mammy, then outfinished Dubit, who was trying to rally along the rail. Glacken's Gal, a daughter of Smoke Glacken owned by Let's Go Stable, covered 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.85 and returned $7.90 as the second choice.

"She broke great and ran every step of the way," Pletcher said. "It was a big race. I wasn't sure about her at the top of the stretch. It looked like the favorite was loaded for bear and once she found a place to go, I thought she'd be hard to beat."

* Pletcher missed out on a third stakes victory when his Christie's Treasure fell a half-length short of Lear's Princess, who rallied from last to win the $67,100 Tweeside Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on the turf. Lear's Princess, ridden by Alan Garcia and trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.97 and is now 3 for 3.