10/11/2007 11:00PM

Ravel triumphant on return to track

EmailLEXINGTON, Ky. - Garrett Gomez came to town a day earlier than originally planned, and it wasn't to sightsee at the Lexington horse farms. Gomez, who was scheduled to ride Dreaming of Anna in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on Saturday, was here to once again experience the thrill of getting aboard Ravel.

After the eighth race Friday at Keeneland, Gomez is more impressed than ever with Ravel. The 3-year-old Fusaichi Pegasus colt trounced a decent field of second-level allowance horses when making his first start since Gomez rode him to victory in the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita in early February. Always prominent from the start of the 1 1/16-mile Polytrack race, Ravel drew off when asked, winning by five lengths and returning $3.20 after finishing in 1:43.37.

Owned by Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith and trained by Todd Pletcher, Ravel was sidelined with a bruised cannon bone while training toward the Santa Anita Derby.

"We thought he was a top-level 3-year-old in the spring," Pletcher said after the race from Belmont Park. "Unfortunately, he got sidetracked, but today he looked every bit like he's everything we've thought of him, and more."

Gomez said his ride on Ravel could not have gone any smoother.

"He was perfect," Gomez said. "He's been one of our favorite horses since the spring. He did what he was supposed to do today. He really did everything well, especially considering that he was coming off a layoff."

Pletcher said Ravel, now a winner in 3 of 4 lifetime starts, most likely will be sent to California and will have his next race next month in the Native Diver at Hollywood Park, although "after this, there are a number of possibilities. I won't rule anything out. The most likely scenario is the Native Diver, followed by the Strub series, and ultimately the Santa Anita Handicap, but obviously we have to hope that everything continues to go well. I couldn't be more pleased with how he ran today."

Gomez scores in Franklin County

Gomez also happened to pick up the mount on the winner of the ninth-race feature, California shipper Stylish Wildcat ($7.40) in the $114,900 Franklin County Stakes.

Thirty minutes after the Ravel victory, Stylish Wildcat outran a very fast group of turf-sprint specialists in the 5 1/2-furlong Franklin County, opening a big lead in midstretch before desperately hanging on to prevail over several late chargers. The ever-diminishing win margin was a neck over Taletobetold, a 17-1 shot who had a neck on Adore You, a 27-1 shot, in a field of 12. Flying Circle, the 5-2 favorite, rallied belatedly to finish another half-length back in fourth.

Gomez said Stylish Wildcat is "a fast little filly, and she really put them away pretty easy today. But five furlongs is about her limit. In fact, 5 1/2 furlongs and one jump, and I was in big trouble today."

Stylish Wildcat, a 4-year-old Forest Wildcat filly owned by the C R K Stable of Susan Searing and trained by John Sadler, now has posted 5 wins and 3 seconds from 9 lifetime starts. She finished in 1:03.71 over a firm course.

Ontrack attendance amid ideal weather was 20,024, a fall-meet record for a Friday. Many in the crowd were seen wearing Louisiana State University garb, as the LSU-Kentucky football game was to be played the following afternoon at nearby Commonwealth Stadium.

Kelly's Landing drills for BC Sprint

Kelly's Landing, unraced since winning the $2 million Golden Shaheen at Dubai in late March, continued progressing toward the Breeders' Cup Sprint by working five furlongs here Friday morning in a swift 57.40 seconds. Brian Hernandez Jr. was up for the work, which followed a 47-second half-mile on Oct. 3.

"He's doing just perfect," trainer Eddie Kenneally said.

Kelly's Landing will work once more, probably Oct. 20, before shipping to Monmouth Park shortly thereafter.

* The top two fillies in the Jessamine Stakes here Thursday both were preparing to return home to Canada on Friday morning and could meet again as soon as Breeders' Cup weekend at Monmouth. The connections of both Wind in My Wings and Lickety Lemon, the one-two finishers, said they could have a rematch in the $250,000 Epitome Breeders' Cup at a mile on turf on Oct. 26.