08/02/2006 11:00PM

In track debut, Pletcher runs three


HENDERSON, Ky. - Todd Pletcher has enjoyed an incredible amount of success in recent years on the Kentucky circuit, having sent out the winners of several graded stakes at Churchill Downs, Keeneland, and Turfway Park.

But, until Saturday, the Pletcher juggernaut had never reached into this western corner of Kentucky, where the state's fourth major track, Ellis Park, is situated. That will change Saturday, when Pletcher, with assistant Michael McCarthy in from Churchill to deputize, is represented by three horses on the Big Four Stakes program at Ellis, including the uncoupled duo of Come Together and Cowgirls Don't Cry in one of the co-features, the $50,000 Anna M. Fisher Debutante at seven furlongs (race 7).

"Both fillies are training well, and I really can't separate them," said McCarthy.

Come Together, with Corey Lanerie to ride, may come a slight favorite in a full field of 2-year-old fillies. A gray daughter of Dixie Union, she was part of a wicked early pace in her last start, the July 8 Debutante at Churchill, before fading to fifth.

"Obviously the pace didn't suit her that day," said McCarthy. "If she runs back to the way she did when she laid just off it and broke her maiden [on May 20 at Churchill], she could be real tough Saturday."

Cowgirls Don't Cry, purchased from the Eaton Sales at Timonium in May after she already had won a Keeneland maiden race, will be ridden by veteran Larry Melancon.

Besides the Pletcher pair, the Fisher Debutante also includes Lenaro, third in the Debutante at Churchill, and Unbridled Ambiance, the unbeaten winner of the Canterbury Lassie.

Pletcher actually will have his first Ellis starter early Saturday, when Zinzan goes off as the likely favorite in the opener, a first-level allowance sprint.

Ellis Juvenile led by Trophy Road

Ohio-bred Trophy Road and Texas-bred Hadacure look like solid contenders among a field of seven colts and geldings in the male counterpart to the Fisher Debutante, the $50,000 James C. Ellis Juvenile (race 8).

Trophy Road, trained by Mike Maker, brings the highest Beyer Speed Figure into the Juvenile, having earned a 77 in a July 2 romp in a statebred race at River Downs. Maker, the former longtime D. Wayne Lukas assistant, has been hot so far at Ellis, with three wins from his first seven starters.

Hadacure, trained by Joe Petalino, won at first asking at Lone Star Park in April, then finished fifth in the $125,000 Texas Stallion Stakes in his lone subsequent start. Hadacure will be ridden by John Jacinto, who before Thursday's races had won with nine of his first 24 mounts at this meet.

One of the longer prices in the seven-furlong Juvenile will be Da Bada Bing, who ships in from Chicago. His trainer, Andy Hansen, insists Da Bada Bing is far better than his Beyers suggest.

"They said he won one of the best maiden races of the [Arlington] meet," said Hansen, a former longtime assistant to the late Gene Cilio. "This is a nice horse."

Lots of possibilities in Regaey Island

There are no household names among the full field of 12 3-year-olds in the $50,000 Regaey Island (race 9), a 1 1/16-mile turf race, but that won't keep the race from being a terrific betting affair. Louisiana Downs shipper Bamboo Gap, a winner of his last three starts, might wind up a lukewarm favorite, but at least a half-dozen others also figure to attract solid support.

Among those logical players are Sea of Trees, a recent allowance winner at Churchill; Bahri and Grill, a recent allowance winner at Arlington; Equal Opportunity, winner of a minor turf stakes two starts back at Arlington for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott; Act of God, a stakes-seasoned runner who recently captured a Colonial Downs maiden race; and Polarity, a consistent performer trained by Bob Holthus.