06/11/2008 11:00PM

Unbridled Belle's quest looks familiar


One way or another, trainer Todd Pletcher will be hoping history repeats itself over the next month at Delaware Park.

Much like he did last year, Pletcher is bringing back Unbridled Belle from a long layoff to make her season's debut in Saturday's $150,000 Obeah Stakes. The 1 1/8-mile Obeah, elevated to Grade 3 status this year, is the local prep for the Grade 2, $1 million Delaware Handicap at 1 1/4 miles on July 13.

Unbridled Belle finished second in last year's Obeah, her first start in nine months, before winning the track's premier event, the Delaware Handicap. Two years ago, Pletcher swept the Obeah and the Del Cap with Fleet Indian. He also won the 2005 Obeah with Isola Piu Bella.

Now 5, Unbridled Belle has not raced since finishing fifth over a sloppy track in last fall's Breeders' Cup Distaff. Her five-race campaign in 2007 also included a win in the Grade 1 Beldame at Belmont Park and a second in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga.

Unbridled Belle, 3 for 4 at Delaware, is likely to face her stiffest challenge in the Obeah from fellow horses-for-the-course Lexi Star and Lemon Drop Mom.

Lexi Star, beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Unbridled Belle as the fourth-place finisher in the 2007 Obeah, makes the third start of her form cycle after winning the restricted Geisha at Laurel Park and finishing second in the Allaire du Pont Distaff at Pimlico on the Preakness undercard. She's 4 for 5 at Delaware.

Lemon Drop Mom, 4 for 7 locally, returns to graded stakes company after crushing five opponents in an overnight stakes almost a month ago. She was off the board in two graded stakes at Oaklawn Park earlier this season.

Lemon Drop Mom is the only horse with a Beyer Speed Figure this year close to the 97 par for the last seven runnings of the stakes. Over that same span, Fleet Indian is the only Obeah winner to come back and capture the Del Cap.

Susan's Girl: Two fillies try to bounce back

Sherine and Awesome Chic, who each upset a graded stakes at 13-1 before finishing off the board against stiffer competition last time out, will look to rebound in the $175,000 Susan's Girl Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

The 1 1/16-mile Susan's Girl is the local prep for the Grade 2, $500,000 Delaware Oaks on July 12.

Sherine, the track's 5-2 morning-line favorite, wired four rivals in the Grade 2 Comely at Aqueduct going a mile. She led for the first six furlongs of the 1 1/8-mile Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico before fading to sixth. That was her first start on a wet track and she encountered trouble twice, getting bumped at the start and having to steady when she nearly hit the rail in the upper stretch.

Awesome Chic, based at Suffolk Downs with trainer Rafael Ramos, responded with a career-best 92 Beyer Speed Figure when stretched out to two turns for the first time in the Grade 3 Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs. She failed to fire over a sloppy track in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks.

Of the last seven winners of the Susan's Girl, only last year's victor, Moon Catcher, went on to win the Delaware Oaks.