07/30/2006 12:00AM

Spun Sugar captures Go For Wand

Spun Sugar wins Sunday's $250,000 Go For Wand Handicap at Saratoga.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - It almost didn't seem fair. Trainer Todd Pletcher, who won the first three graded stakes of the Saratoga session, had three of the six starters including 3-2 favorite Oonagh Maccool in Sunday's $250,000 . But it would take a courageous effort from the least regarded of his trio of talented fillies for Pletcher to notch his fourth graded victory of the young meet after Spun Sugar outgamed an equally determined Balletto to register a hard fought nose verdict in the main event on a card which drew a crowd of 43, 846.

Pool Land, the third member of Pletcher's potent triumverate, engaged in an early pace duel with Take D' Tour who came into the one mile and one eighth Go For Wand riding a three race win streak that included an easy victory in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap in her previous start.

Pool Land and Take D' Tour battled head to head through fractions of :23.41 seconds, :46.49 and 1:10.50 with Spun Sugar saving ground and perfectly placed under jockey Mike Luzzi just behind the embattled pair. Take D'Tour was the first to retreat while Spun Sugar found ample room to split horses and engage her stablemate for command in upper stretch.

Balletto was content to race at the rear of the pack for six furlongs before quickly sweeping to contention around the second turn. She continued her bid four wide entering the stretch, joined Spun Sugar at the eighth pole at which point the pair hooked up in a torrid battle with neither giving an inch to the wire where a head bob decided the final outcome.

Pool Land survived her early duel to finish third another 6.5 lengths behind Balletto. Take D'Tour faded badly to fourth followed by Nothing But Fun and a disappointing Oonagh Maccool. Classy Charm and Summerly were scratched.

The Go For Wand was the second Grade 1 win for Spun Sugar who also accounted for Oaklawn Park's Apple Blossom Handicap in similarly game fashion in April. A homebred daughter of Awesome Again owned by Frank Stronach's Stronach Stables, she paid $13.00 after covering the distance in 1:49.93 over a fast track.

"That was a serious bobblehead there," Pletcher said with a smile referring to the fact he was featured in a bobblehead giveaway on Thursday. "She's a game filly. She did the same thing at Oaklawn. When she gets in that situation she really fights. I always felt she was a better filly going two turns and she really showed what she's all about today."

Trainer Tom Albertrani, who sent out Bernardini to dominate the Jim Dandy Stakes the previous afternoon, was naturally frustrated at the result of the photo but pleased with Balletto's effort.

"She ran her heart out," said Albertrani. "She came back to her old self today. It just came down to a head bob."