07/24/2007 11:00PM

Third chapter in fillies' turf rivalry


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Round three in the budding rivalry between up-and-coming turf specialists Rutherienne and Red Birkin will move from Monmouth Park to the big stage at Saratoga, where the pair will face nine other 3-year-old fillies in Friday's $100,000 Lake George Stakes. The Grade 3 Lake George is carded at 1 1/16 miles on the Mellon Turf and highlights the first of the meet's two twilight programs, with first post at 2:45 p.m.

Red Birkin crossed the finish line a neck in front of Rutherienne and jockey Joe Bravo in Monmouth's Grade 3 Boiling Springs Stakes on June 30 only to be disqualified and placed third for drifting out through the stretch. The stewards' decision gave Rutherienne her fifth victory in six starts, with her lone setback coming in her 3-year-old debut when she finished a late-running fourth in Keeneland's Appalachian Stakes.

"She's a very honest filly who tries hard every time, which is nice," said Christophe Clement, who trains the homebred Rutherienne for Virginia Kraft Payson. "It's hard for me to say if she would have won the race at Monmouth had she not been bothered, but the rider said he thought she would."

In the Lake George, Rutherienne will be reunited with jockey Garrett Gomez, who guided her to a pair of stakes wins earlier in the year, including the Grade 3 Sands Point at Belmont Park on June 2.

"She's the kind of filly who settles and comes from out of it, and she's won from off both a slow and fast pace, so I don't worry about the pace," said Clement. "I'll just let Garrett work that part out."

Red Birkin has not been off the board since trainer Roger Attfield switched her to grass following a dull showing over Woodbine's Polytrack in her 2-year-old debut. She finished third, in front of Rutherienne, when making her stakes debut in the Appalachian.

The Lake George will also reunite Good Mood and Dashes N Dots, first and third in the Grade 3 Regret Stakes on June 16 at Churchill Downs.

Good Mood rallied from midpack to post a 1 3/4-length triumph in the Regret, her first win in four starts since shipping to the U.S. during the end of her 2-year-old campaign.

Dashes N Dots led through deep stretch in the nine-furlong Regret and should appreciate the shorter distance Friday.

Completing the field are trainer H. Graham Motion's uncoupled pair of Bees and Miss Tizzynow, the red-hot Lady Attack, Sharp Susan, Classic Neel, Awesome Ashley, and Silky Smooth.