05/23/2004 11:00PM

Pletcher's pair head Jersey Girl


ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Todd Pletcher has fond feelings for Jersey Girl, who provided him with his first New York stakes win and later his first Grade 1 victory.

Jersey Girl won seven consecutive starts in 1998, including the Acorn, Mother Goose, Test, Cicada, and Nassau County. As a 2-year-old, Jersey Girl won the Astoria Stakes, the first of what has turned out be countless New York stakes victories for Pletcher.

On Wednesday at Belmont Park, Pletcher has entered two 3-year-old fillies in the $60,000-added Jersey Girl Stakes at six furlongs. The Pletcher runners, uncoupled in the wagering, are Highgate Park and Frenchglen. Seven were entered the race.

is coming off a second-place finish in the Smart Halo Stakes at Pimlico on April 4. After owning a comfortable lead in the stretch, Highgate Park was beaten three-quarters of length by Spirited Game.

"I was a little disappointed, because it looked like she was going to win at the top of stretch, but she got a little late," Pletcher said. "She's been a little bit in and out putting back-to-back efforts together. Hopefully, she's ready for a top race."

Jerry Bailey rides Highgate Park, who has tactical speed, from the rail.

is coming off a 12-length win in an allowance race at Keeneland in the slop on April 21. In her prior start, she finished third behind two very good fillies, Madcap Escapade and La Reina, in the Grade 2 Forward Gal Stakes at Gulfstream Park on March 13.

"We took a big step in there, but it was a good opportunity to get stakes placed, and she did," Pletcher said. "She came back to run very well at Keeneland. She really loves an off track."

John Velazquez rides Frenchglen, who has speed, from post 4.

There is quite a bit of speed in the field, which could set things up for Stoic, who hasn't run since December, or Why You. Stoic is coupled with Pacific Island, and trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. has named Edgar Prado on both of his fillies, which means only one can start.

is coming off a win over Cherry's Hunter, who is entered in the Jersey Girl. In March at Aqueduct, Highgate Park beat Pacific Island by a neck in an allowance race.

Why You came from off the pace to win a first-level allowance race at Aqueduct last month by five lengths.

Lovethatlegend, who won last year's Sorority Stakes at Prairie Meadows, makes her first start since October.