10/05/2008 12:00AM

Unbridled Belle tries the Poly


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The grand old lady is holding up just fine. Although the barrage of FallStars stakes on opening weekend has relegated the Spinster Stakes to a co-starring role, Keeneland still reserves the anchor spot for what long has been trumpeted as the fall-meet highlight.

Saved for Sunday as the last of the nine FallStars events, the Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster offers even more than its customary prestige and $500,000 purse: a Win and You're In berth toward the Oct. 24 Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic.

Unbridled Belle, easily the leading earner in this 53rd running of the 1 1/8-mile Spinster with more than $1.5 million, figures as a lukewarm favorite when making her first start over anything but dirt. The 5-year-old mare will be ridden by John Velazquez when she starts from post 9 in a field of 11.

"We're hoping she's as effective on the Polytrack as she is on dirt, although you never really know until they run on it," said Todd Pletcher, who trains Unbridled Belle for Team Valor International. "She worked like she normally works" when breezing five furlongs Monday in 1:01 over the Keeneland Polytrack.

This will be the third Spinster run over Polytrack. Asi Siempre, mostly a turf specialist, won the 2006 running, while Panty Raid, a model of versatility, prevailed last year as a 3-year-old for Pletcher although, for a variety of reasons, she did not move on to the BC Distaff (now the BC Ladies' Classic).

"We'd be going from one synthetic track to another this year, so if Unbridled Belle wins or runs really well, we'd like to take her to the Breeders' Cup," Pletcher said.

Two proven entities over the Keeneland Poly are among the potential impediments for Unbridled Belle: Jibboom won the Grade 2 Raven Run here last fall, while Little Belle won the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes in the spring.

Other viable possibilities include a pair of California horses looking to stamp their return tickets back home: Wake Up Maggie, a sensational winner at Del Mar of her last start, and Model, whose Hall of Fame trainer, Neil Drysdale, won the 1980 Spinster with Bold 'n Determined and the 1984 running with Princess Rooney.

Rosinka, one of the likely pacesetters, scratched from another Grade 1 race at Keeneland, the First Lady on Friday, to run Sunday.

"She's 2 for 2 for synthetic, and the Spinster just seemed like more of a wide-open race with a better setup for us," trainer Graham Motion said.

The balance of the Spinster field is Indescribable, Carriage Trail, Sharp Susan, Rolling Sea, and Say You Will.

The Spinster, the ninth of 10 races, anchors a Sunday card that includes another Win and You're In race, the $200,000 Woodford Reserve Bourbon (race 7).

After Sunday, Keeneland goes dark for two days until racing resumes Wednesday. The highlight next week will be the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on Saturday.