08/08/2003 11:00PM

Whoopi Cat, Lokoya lead Adirondack field


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - It might be blasphemy to suggest, but trainer Todd Pletcher may not have the horse to beat in Monday's Grade 2, $150,000 Adirondack Stakes for juvenile fillies.

Pletcher, who has won both juvenile stakes at this meet and 23 races here overall, sends out Lokoya in the Adirondack, run at 6 1/2 furlongs. Lokoya, a daughter of Woodman, won her maiden by three lengths at Belmont at first asking on July 4.

But, trainer Patrick Biancone may have something better in Whoopi Cat, who was equally - if not more - impressive winning her maiden by six lengths at Belmont on July 11. Whoopi Cat and Lokoya head a seven-horse field in the Adirondack, which tops a nine-race card as the first half of the Saratoga meet comes to a close.

In her debut, Whoopi Cat, a daughter of Tale of the Cat, stalked the pacesetting Forty Moves from the outside, engaged that one at the quarter pole, and drew off with only hand urging from jockey Edgar Prado. She covered five furlongs in 57.57 seconds.

While Whoopi Cat will have to stretch out from five to 6 1/2 furlongs, Biancone said that shouldn't be a problem.

"She's all stamina in her pedigree," Biancone said. "Her mother won at a mile and a quarter. I like to give them a bit of time between races - it's a month, it's perfect. This is the race I was really looking toward."

Whoopi Cat will break from post 5.

Lokoya had the disadvantage of breaking from the rail in her 5 1/2-furlong debut at Belmont. She, too, raced against Forty Moves, stalking that rival from the inside before tipping outside for the stretch drive and putting Forty Moves away inside the sixteenth pole. She covered 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.39.

"I like the way she ran first time out drawing the one hole, kind of sitting right behind horses and drawing off like she did," Pletcher said. "We decided to give her a little more time and felt 6 1/2 [furlongs] would be better for her. She's the kind of filly that would want to stretch out."

Lokoya will break from post 3 under John Velazquez.

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who has won the Adirondack five times, will send out Unbridled Beauty in this year's 88th renewal. Unbridled Beauty won her maiden by 7 1/4 lengths at Churchill Downs in May before finishing second behind Feline Story in the Astoria Stakes at Belmont. She will run on Lasix for the first time in the Adirondack.

Wild Berry, Eye Dazzler, Pierian Spring, and Earthquake Ride complete the field.