03/01/2006 12:00AM

Pletcher's filly won't run against Devine Laughter


Todd Pletcher versus Steve Asmussen in a 3-year-old filly stakes this time of year usually means Gulfstream or Oaklawn, not Evangeline Downs. Imagine the excitement at Evangeline, near Opelousas, La., when entries for Friday night's $50,000 Green Oaks Stakes were drawn last weekend.

Not only was the powerful Asmussen stable represented by Devine Laughter, but also the WinStar Farm homebred Mama Nadine, trained by Pletcher, passed through the entry box. While Asmussen has raced at Evangeline on several occasions in recent seasons, this was to be Pletcher's first starter there.

The fantasy match-up won't take place, however. Elliott Walden, the former trainer who is now the racing manager for WinStar, said early Wednesday afternoon that the regally bred Mama Nadine will not start.

"She is not going to go," said Walden. "We took a shot since they entered so far in advance, but we had some trouble shipping her in there. I've talked it over with Todd and we have decided we will scratch."

While the race has lost much of its marquee power, the one-mile stakes still carries some clout. is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3, $250,000 Silverbulletday Stakes at the Fair Grounds meeting at Louisiana Downs on Jan. 14. She gained on the winner, Baghdaria, through the second turn that day only to flatten out a bit in the drive. Friday night's one-mile distance appears ideally suited for Devine Laughter's stalk-and-pounce running style, and she is likely to inherit the role of favorite with Mama Nadine's defection.

will attempt to make it three wins in a row in her stakes debut. Trained by Brandon Marks, who has made quite an impression this winter by winning with 17 of his 59 starters at the meet, Missgallopinggulch defeated maidens by almost 18 lengths on Jan. 18. She followed up that effort by making short work of seven nonwinners-of-two allowance foes. Both of those victories came at Evangeline going one mile, which gives her a significant home track advantage.

also comes off a nonwinners-of-two allowance score, and while Friday's race has lost some of its early speed, there remains an ample amount of early pace to set the stage for another one of her late runs.