09/11/2003 11:00PM

Three for the money


ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Todd Pletcher has won five out of the 10 stakes run this year in New York for 2-year-olds. He has the opportunity to add to that number on Sunday at Belmont Park when he saddles three 2-year-old fillies in the Grade 1 Matron, as well as Value Plus in the Grade 1 Futurity.

Pletcher's Matron starters, who are not coupled in the wagering, are Lokoya, Marylebone, and Sisti's Pride.

The Pletcher trio will face five others in the $200,000 Matron.

The probable favorite in the mile Matron is Feline Story, who won the Grade 3 Sorority at Monmouth Park on Aug. 30. Feline Story, who is trained by Stanley Hough, is the only stakes winner in the field.

In her second start, Feline Story won the Astoria by four lengths at Belmont on June 29. Her Astoria win came over a fast track, but her maiden win and the Sorority were run over wet tracks. She came from slightly off the pace in the six-furlong Sorority, and Hough hopes that is a sign she will be able to handle the mile distance of the Matron.

Javier Castellano rides Feline Story, who drew post 3.

If the track is dry, Lokoya looks like Pletcher's strongest threat to Feline Cat. In her last start, on Aug. 11 at Saratoga, Lokoya finished fourth in the Grade 2 Adirondack, which was run in the mud. Five weeks earlier, Lokoya was a three-length winner of a maiden race over nine rivals on a fast track at Belmont.

Pletcher said Lokoya probably didn't care for the mud in the Adirondack.

"She stayed on well enough, and I think she should appreciate more distance," Pletcher said.

John Velazquez, aboard each of Pletcher's fillies for their maiden wins, is partnered with Lokoya, who drew post 5.

Sisti's Pride, who won a maiden race by 4 3/4 lengths in her third start on Aug. 22 at Saratoga, appears to have more speed than her stablemates.

"She's got tactical speed, but you need to let her find it on her own," Pletcher said.

Jerry Bailey rides Sisti's Pride from post 7.

In her only start, Marylebone came from off the pace to win a five-furlong maiden race at Saratoga by a neck.

Pletcher was impressed.

"She was out-footed a little bit and had to wait to come up the rail at the end," he said.

Eye Dazzler followed her maiden win with a third in the Adirondack. Stand on Top, Charming Humor, and Funny Honey complete the field.