07/26/2006 12:00AM

Strong one-two for Pletcher

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Todd Pletcher wasn't surprised when colleague Patrick Biancone announced Tuesday that Lady of Venice would be running in Saturday's Grade 1 Diana rather than Friday's Grade 3 Lake George. But he was very happy nonetheless.

Without Lady of Venice, the Pletcher-trained may be the right horse among the eight 3-year-old fillies entered in the $100,000 Lake George, run at 1 1/16 miles on the Mellon Turf.

Magnificent Song finished second, four lengths behind Lady of Venice, in the Regret Stakes at Churchill Downs on June 17. Both fillies were well off the pace in the Regret, but Lady of Venice displayed a far superior closing kick. Magnificent Song failed to switch leads in the stretch.

"We thought, based on her previous races, she wants to be off the pace a little bit," Pletcher said. "That was the strategy. We just got outrun by a better filly on the day."

Before the Regret, Magnificent Song had won two straight races, including the Edgewood at Churchill. In her last three starts, she has worn blinkers, equipment Pletcher said has helped Magnificent Song focus a bit more. Garrett Gomez will ride Magnificent Song from post 7.

Pletcher will also run Somethinaboutbetty, who has finished second in two starts since being put on the turf. Before that, she was a multiple stakes winner against Maryland-breds on dirt.

"She was competitive and doing well against Maryland-breds on the dirt, but she took a step up and ran a good race against open company on the grass," Pletcher said.

If nothing else, Somethinaboutbetty will keep Quite a Bride company on the front end.

Quite a Bride, trained by Bill Mott, is 4 for 4 on the turf, with all four wins coming in front-running fashion at the distance of the Lake George. She is coming off two stakes wins in New Jersey, including a gate-to-wire score in the Grade 3 Boiling Springs at Monmouth on July 4.

"Sooner or later she's going to have to stretch out, but she doesn't have to do it next time," Mott said.

While Biancone is holding out Lady of Venice for the Diana, he will run Pyramid Love in the Lake George. A daughter of Fusaichi Pegasus, Pyramid Love went 2 for 3 in France before being transferred to Biancone.

"She arrived to us in April and we gave her a bit of time to [acclimate]," Biancone said. "The owner told me she was really good. We're going to see that on Friday."