09/03/2008 11:00PM

Pretty Prolific at 3-1? Fair odds on fast filly

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - One would expect a horse dropping in class off a troubled third place finish in the fastest 2-year-old stakes race of the year to be an overwhelming favorite in its next start.

But if the morning line proves accurate for Saturday's Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Lassie, Pretty Prolific - a horse making such a drop - would be a tepid wagering choice at 3-1 odds against 12 other juvenile fillies.

That is more than a fair price on Pretty Prolific, a filly with the talent to become one of the leaders of the division. A horseplayer need only watch a replay of last month's Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga for evidence of that. Stumbling at the start, she found herself in an unfamiliar spot early - last of eight - eating dirt behind horses.

If she had quit under these adverse circumstances in what was only her second start, she would have had a valid excuse for running poorly. But rather than quit, she dug in, advancing inside on the turn and through midstretch, before angling to the outside for racing room. Once clear, she kicked into gear, rallying to be third, a nose behind Doremifasollatido and seven lengths behind the unbeaten race-winner Mani Bhavan, subsequent winner of the Grade 1 Spinaway.

Considering Mani Bhavan turned in a freakishly fast performance in the Adirondack - posting a 99 Beyer Speed Figure, the highest speed figure by a juvenile of either gender in a stakes race this year - Pretty Prolific ran very well to lose by seven lengths.

Other more experienced 2-year-old fillies, could not manage as much. Astoria winner Bold Union, who entered the race unbeaten in two starts, ran fourth, beaten 8 1/4 lengths. Simplify, the third-place finisher in the Grade 3 Debutante at Churchill Downs, ran fifth, 15 3/4 lengths behind the winner, and Garden District, the Debutante winner, faded to ninth, losing by 19 1/2 lengths.

None of those three fillies had a trip as tough as Pretty Prolific.

With the experience of the Adirondack behind her, expect Pretty Prolific to flash more of the speed she exhibited in winning her debut at Churchill Downs June 22, a race in which she won by 3 1/2 lengths after pressing the early pace along the inside.

The only thing Pretty Prolific lacks in the Arlington-Washington Lassie is synthetic experience. She has raced exclusively on dirt.

But her pedigree hints that she should take to the Polytrack at Arlington. She is by Lion Heart, the leading first-crop sire in North America, who has sired four synthetic-track winners, led by Azul Leon, winner of the Gradeo2 Best Pal and Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile Championship over synthetic surfaces.

Also worthy of attention and betting in the Arlington-Washington Lassie, if she sticks anywhere close to her morning-line price if 12-1 is Afleet Deceit, who closed full of run in a highly-rated five-furlong dash Aug. 14, a race in which she finished second by a nose in a head-bobbing photo. That performance earned an 89 Beyer, the highest figure in Saturday's field.

Stretching out an additional three furlongs and returning on about three weeks' rest, she is at risk of a bounce off a fast, taxing debut, but slight regression still puts her in contention.

Cherokee Triangle tough off last

A race earlier on the Arlington card, Cherokee Triangle looks to continue his winning ways in the Honor Glide Stakes. An 8-1 outsider, he comes off a victory in the Cliff Guilliams Memorial at Ellis Park that was even better than it looks on paper.

Drawn on the far outside and carrying highweight of 122 pounds, he was hung five wide and shuffled back in the first turn, continued to race three wide on the second turn, yet somehow found a way to win, even after Veiled Prophet passed him on the turn.

Drawn much better in post 3 in the Honor Glide, he will likely receive a better trip - and improve upon his last-race Beyer of 85.

This is a horse that showed exciting potential last year as a juvenile before tailing off last fall and into this spring. But in observing his recent stakes win, he seems back in peak form again.

Sweet Hope a top wager

One of the best wagers in a Saturday stakes is Sweet Hope in the Grade 3 Endine Handicap at Delaware Park.

Returning to a Delaware Park surface over which she posted a 106 Beyer in winning the Beautiful Day Stakes June 22, and coming off a runner-up finish behind Indian Blessing in the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga, she looks poised to pick up her first graded stakes victory.

Adding to her appeal is her return to her best distance of six furlongs, and her favorable weight assignment of 117 pounds. She gets a six-pound weight break from morning-line favorite Graeme Six, and appears every bit as fast as that rival.

Sweet Hope, listed at 5-1 odds for the winning tandem of jockey Gabriel Saez and trainer Larry Jones, is likely to drop from her morning-line price but would still be a good bet at 3-1 or higher.