09/09/2006 11:00PM

Pool Land takes Ruffian


ELMONT, N.Y. - Pool Land joined trainer Todd Pletcher's roster of Grade 1 winning older fillies and mares on Sunday by overtaking Take D'Tour in upper stretch and drawing off for a two-length victory in the $300,000 before 5,856 at Belmont Park.

Take D'Tour, who had won the Shuvee and Ogden Phipps handicaps over this course in the spring, settled for second, one-half length ahead of Miss Shop. Classy Charm and Summerly completed the order of finish.

Pool Land is the third Grade 1 winning older filly or mare trained by Pletcher. Fleet Indian and Spun Sugar are the other two. Oonagh Maccool is a multiple Grade 2 winner in the division.

The Ruffian was the 43rd graded stakes won by Pletcher this year, his 12th Grade 1.

The Ruffian was the fourth win from six starts for Pool Land this year and her sixth from eight career races. Her biggest win prior to this was the Grade 3 Allaire Du Pont Breeders' Cup Distaff Handicap at Pimlico in May.

Pool Land finished third in the Grade 1 Go for Wand Handicap at Saratoga on July 30, a race in which she dueled with Take D'Tour early while stablemate Spun Sugar went on to victory. Pool Land finished third, 3 1-2 lengths ahead of Take D'Tour.

Sunday, Pool Land, under John Velazquez, stalked Take D'Tour and Cornelio Velasquez through fractions of 22.71 seconds, 45.79 and 1:10.38 before taking control of the race in upper stretch. Pool Land, a daughter of Silver Deputy owned by Eugene Melnyk Racing Stable, covered the 1 1-16 miles in 1:41.81 and returned $5.20 as the second choice.

"I was riding his tail the whole time and his horse was breathing pretty hard and the more I got closer to his tail the more he'd go," Velazquez said. "Mine was just handling it pretty easily. I had a long hold of her and she was going really good. By the three-eighths pole when I saw [Miss Shop and Summerly] come in, I give her a little bit and she went on."

Assistant Tristan Barry saddled Pool Land for Pletcher, who was away at the Keeneland yearling sales. Barry said Pool Land may simply train up to the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.

David Fawkes, the trainer of Take D'Tour, would have liked to have seen his filly go a little slower early, but overall was pleased with the performance. Fawkes said Take D'Tour would stay here for the Grade 1, $600,000 Beldame on Oct. 7.