11/29/2006 12:00AM

Two Grade 1 winners clash in Princess


It is a rarity to find a single Grade 1 winner on a card at Delta Downs. But two in one race?

That is exactly what will take place Friday night when Appealing Zophie and Meadow Breeze meet in the $300,000 Delta Princess.

The one-mile race for 2-year-old fillies is one of five stakes on the card, and also part of a $50,000 -guaranteed all-stakes pick four that begins with the fifth race and concludes with the featured Grade 3, $1 million Delta Jackpot.

This year's Jackpot will be the first graded Thoroughbred stakes ever run at Delta, and judging from the looks of its counterpart for fillies, it won't be long before the Princess makes the grade.

Appealing Zophie won the Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga, and comes into the Princess off a fourth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Meadow Breeze captured the Grade 1 Matron at Belmont Park, and in her most recent start won the prep for the Princess, the $100,000 My Trusty Cat at Delta.

The two fillies will break side-by-side in the Princess, with Meadow Breeze in gate 3 and Appealing Zophie in gate 4.

"I think it's a very good place for her," said Scott Blasi, Appealing Zophie's trainer. "It gives her a chance to see what the pace will do. She's very quick away from there, has very good gate speed, so I think she'll be well-placed."

Meadow Breeze also has speed. That the fillies share a similar style adds another layer of interest to the Princess.

"She can sit a little bit off of them, or she can go with them, either way," said Carl Deville, who trains Meadow Breeze.

Donnie Meche has the mount on Appealing Zophie, while Steve Bourque will ride Meadow Breeze. Others in the seven-horse field include Stage Stop, the runner-up in the My Trusty Cat, and Miss Atlantic City, a stakes winner for trainer Keith Desormeaux who will be ridden by his brother, Kent Desormeaux.

The focus, however, will be on the Grade 1 winners, and in addition to the purse, there might be a little more at stake for the pair on Friday, said Deville. Meadow Breeze and Appealing Zophie are both Florida-breds, and by points were ranked a respective one-two in the standings for championship honors from the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association.

"It's funny how they both pop up in the same race at Delta Downs," said Deville.