11/07/2007 1:00AM

Small edge to Bachata in big field

EmailOZONE PARK, N.Y. - With hardly any stakes opportunities restricted to 3-year-old fillies remaining on the calendar, it's no surprise that Friday's $75,000 Scoot Stakes at Aqueduct drew an overflow field of 15 runners for the turf and an additional entrant should the race be rained off the grass.

The Scoot, a one-mile race that will be limited to 10 starters if it is run on turf, is so competitive that the probable favorite, Queen Joanne, is relegated to the also-eligible list and needs one scratch to draw into the field.

With Queen Joanne in or out, the horse to beat is Bachata, a daughter of Kingmambo who ships in from the Fair Hill training center in Maryland for trainer Graham Motion. Bachata had a four-race winning streak snapped when she was second, beaten 2 1/2 lengths by Bel Air Beauty in the Grade 3 Valley View Stakes at Keeneland, a race in which she broke poorly and was last down the backside.

"It cost her the race, I think," Motion said of the break. "She didn't have anybody in the gate with her. She had her head cocked, and she got completely left. If you had told me at the half-mile pole she would be second, I wouldn't have believed you - she had that much to do. Even at the eighth pole she was a good ways back."

In her one try at the one-mile distance, Bachata rallied from seven lengths back to win an allowance race at Colonial Downs.

"My inclination would be ideally she wants a little further, but I think she has enough turn of foot where she can handle the mile," Motion said.

Featherbed, who won a restricted stakes on the dirt at Saratoga, ran a good second in her turf debut at the Meadowlands, finishing second in the P.G. Johnson Stakes at five furlongs.

"She looked like she handled it pretty well; we're going to try and stretch her out," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "She didn't get away well and was finishing strong at the end."

Unspoken Word won the Wild Applause Stakes at Belmont on Sept. 19, opening a five-length lead at the eighth pole before holding off Stormy West by a neck.

Queen Joanne won two turf races at Saratoga before finishing a half-length behind Cat Charmer in the Pebbles at Belmont last month.

Trainer Mark Hennig, who entered Thursday's action one win shy of 1,000 career victories, sends out a three-horse uncoupled entry in this race. Dattts Our Girl, a winner of a second-level allowance race last out at the Meadowlands, looks the strongest of the trio.