09/28/2009 11:00PM

Spritely matches winning profile


ELMONT, N.Y. - Who am I? I'm a Ned Evans-owned filly trained by Todd Pletcher, making my eighth start of the year and dropping from three in-the-money finishes in graded stakes (the last one at Monmouth Park), along with a switch from Chris Decarlo to John Velazquez.

If you said Malibu Prayer, blowout winner of last Wednesday's Cat Chat overnight stakes, you would be correct. In a case of deja vu, that exact description also applies to Spritely, who heads a formidable uncoupled entry, along with Sea Chanter, in Thursday's $65,000 Quick Mischief at 1 1/16 miles on Belmont Park's main track.

Freshened after winning the $250,000 Sugar Maple at Charles Town, Spritely returned with a couple of frustrating defeats in the First Flight and the Go for Wand. She then turned in the fastest Beyer Speed Figure of her career, a 98, in the Molly Pitcher last time out, but it was only good for a runner-up finish.

"She's certainly taking a step down in class," said Pletcher, who entered the week with a one-win lead in the trainer standings. "We were looking for a way to get her to the Top Flight," a Grade 2 stakes Nov. 27 at Aqueduct.

Sea Chanter typically runs Beyers in the low 90s, something she had done on turf and dirt in six of seven starts from December through July, capped by an easy win in an overnight stakes. She looks to rebound after getting steamrolled by Icon Project in the Personal Ensign.

"Take the winner out of that race and everyone looks a lot closer together, but she didn't run her race that day," said Pletcher. "She's training well and has been successful at this kind of trip at Belmont."

The field also includes Solo Piano, whose only loss from four starts in New York was a placing to eventual Coaching Club winner Funny Moon; My Dinah, back quickly after running a close second to Weathered in a New York-bred stakes last week; and the improving Newport Harbour, who stretches out for Eddie Kenneally after running a close third in the Loudonville last month.

"She ran a bang-up race against stakes-caliber horses at Saratoga, and we're happy with the way she's trained of late," said Kenneally. "She's down on the inside, which isn't ideal, but I don't think the distance will be a problem for her."

Fascinatin' Rhythm completes the field.