10/22/2007 11:00PM

Stablemates Indian Vale, Unbridled Belle stuck outside

EmailOCEANPORT, N.J. - A year ago, trainer Todd Pletcher entered three horses in the Breeders' Cup Distaff - including race favorite Fleet Indian - but he could do no better than finish eighth despite drawing relatively favorable post positions.

In Saturday's $2.26 million Distaff, Pletcher will again have three runners, and two of them drew extremely poorly. Indian Vale, the track's 3-1 morning-line favorite, drew post 10, while Unbridled Belle, the 9-2 third choice, is in post 11. Octave, Pletcher's third entrant, drew post 8.

"It wasn't great in either case," Pletcher said, referring to Indian Vale and Unbridled Belle, "but every time I've ever worried about the post position it's worked out pretty well. It is what it is."

Pletcher actually pre-entered four in the Distaff, but elected not to run Panty Raid in either the Distaff or Filly and Mare Turf, for which she was also pre-entered.

Monmouth Park linemaker Brad Thomas said he wavered between making Indian Vale or Ginger Punch the favorite, but landed on Indian Vale because of "the action that Indian Vale consistently got betting-wise when she was in good form, and her last race signaled she was in good form."

Unbridled Belle is in career form as well. She sandwiched a second-place finish in the Personal Ensign between victories in the Delaware Handicap and Beldame, beating Indian Vale in both of her wins.

"She showed signs last year that she was good, and obviously we placed her ambitiously in big races which she didn't run badly in, but she by no means ran as well last year as she has this year," Pletcher said. "The only thing I can put my finger on is she's such a big filly that it has taken her a while to get it all together."

Pletcher hopes Ramon Dominguez can get Unbridled Belle over to a ground-saving position by the time the field enters the first turn. Indian Vale, who is 6 for 6 in 1 1/8-mile races run around two turns - such as the Distaff - has enough speed to gain a forward position early.

Hystericalady, another speed horse, drew post 12 and will likely have to be sent by Eddie Castro.

Ginger Punch, who was supplemented to the race at a cost of $180,000, drew post 4, alleviating trainer Bobby Frankel's fears of getting stuck outside. Now, Frankel said he believes Ginger Punch could work out a ground-saving trip if Indian Vale and Hystericalady are sent from the gate.

On Tuesday, Balance worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 at Monmouth, a move in which exercise rider Martin De Rubin was getting after the filly through the stretch.