Juvenile Fillies Strut Stuff At The Red Mile

Published: October 6, 2009 02:12 pm EDT

A quintet of $65,800 Cantab Hall International Stallion Stakes splits for two-year-old trotting fillies took centre stage this afternoon at The Red Mile

in Lexington, Kentucky, where the national season's mark for the division was lowered once again.

Up Front Juansteen Captures Opening Division

In the opening division, post time favourite Impressive Kemp ran behind the gate, and thus left the contest wide open for the taking.

After having left from the rail with Tim Tetrick at the controls, bay Andover Hall lass Up Front Juansteen sat the pocket past the 29-second opening quarter before making her move.

Tetrick called on his filly up the backside and the pair made the front easily before clicking off the opening half in :58.1. The John Campbell-driven Behindcloseddoors then came calling first-up from fourth well prior to the 1:28 three-quarters. There was a flurry of action in the final quarter, as both Levis Lady (driven by Brian Sears) and Nannina (Brad Hanners) made spirited late bids at long odds.

Up Front Juansteen, who is trained by Kelly O'Donnell, stopped the clock in a life's best 1:55.3 and paid $9.40 to win. It was the filly's third win in 11 lifetime starts.

After having worked out a pocket ride, Levis Lady finished second and paid $26.00 to place and $27.40 to show. Nannina ended up third and returned a solid $32.00 to show.

"She's just coming into herself. She has high speed and Kelly is just helping her bring it all together," said co-owner Murray Brown. "She came home great today -- I'm just thrilled."

Fashion Feline Lowers National Season's Mark In Second Division

A quarter-pole advance was the decisive maneuvre in the second of the International Stallion Stakes splits, as the Jim Campbell-trained Broadway Hall filly Fashion Feline trotted to a national season's mark of 1:54.3.

Brian Sears had left from Post 2 and had settled for second prior to the tepid 30-second quarter pole. The duo made the lead easily when they decided to head to the engine. Sears and his mount clicked off the middle fractions in :57.4 and 1:26.4 before flashing a solid final quarter on the way home.

Bar Slide and driver David Miller finished second, while Barham Hanover and pilot Mike Wilder took the show spot.

Fashion Feline has now won seven of her 10 starts this season. The filly was coming into the International Stallion Stakes off a victory in the $200,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships.

Full Tank Changes Tactics To Take Third Split

Muscles Yankee filly Full Tank shows a lot of front-end speed in her past performance lines, but driver George Brennan opted for different tactics in the third of the International Stallion Stakes divisions. The move paid off in spades.

After starting from Post 4, Brennan hustled the student of trainer Bob Bencal away in third. The duo occupied that position past the :28.2 opening quarter, but unlike the previous divisions, instead of going forward in the second quarter, Brennan and Full Tank took a shuffle.

The pair were out of the top four by the time the half sprang to life in :57, but with forward cover in the third quarter, Brennan tipped his charge out and the pair got themselves right back in to contention.

The three quarters came to life in 1:27 and Brennan and Full Tank were still out of the top three. When everything was on the line in the stretch, the filly had overcome some moderate fractions, usurped her rivals and posted a smart victory in 1:57.1.

Religious and driver Ron Pierce finished second. In The Mean Time (driven by Mike Lachance) finished third.

Full Tank's co-owner Jeff Gural noted in a post-race interview that he was also well aware of his filly's front-end speed, but he enjoyed Brennan's tactics in the dash quite a bit.

"I was kind of hoping that George would do that (race the filly from off the tempo)," Gural explained, "but I wasn't going to tell him what to do."

Full Tank now has three victories from seven starts.

Spicy Wings Takes Wild Fourth Division

There were notable breakers and heartened rushes to get back into the fifth of the International Stallion Stakes divisions, but when it was all said and done, the Ross Croghan-trained and Brian Sears-driven Spicy Wings was much the best.

Coming in off of a victory in the Bluegrass Stakes, Spicy Wings, a daughter of Andover Hall, trotted away from the field late and stopped the clock in a solid 1:55.4.

As the gate was pulling away, the Ron Pierce-driven rail horse (Auvergne) was noticeably sluggish and was instantly following the pack. Just seconds later, the John Bax-trained Bluegrass Stakes division winner Tequila Slammer made a break and also spotted the field some lengths.

Sitting fourth at the :28.3 opening quarter, Sears and Spicy Wings had to be on their toes, as the filly in front of them, Perfect Chance, went on a break. Not settling for the three hole, Sears moved his mount first up. The duo were overland on the lead as they clicked off the opening half in :57.2.

Sears and Spicy Wings cleared shortly after the half, but again were forced to be on their game. Driver George Brennan had gotten Tequila Slammer back on gait and was blazing back into contention on the outside. The pair of fillies got into a front-end battle on the turn, and Tequila Slammer was on the lead by the time the three quarters flashed to life in 1:26.4.

Sears had bided his time well, as Tequila Slammer could not sustain her momentum in the lane after the valiant try. When Sears asked Spicy Wings once again, the filly sizzled, opening up lengths on the field en route to the sharp victory.

Ultimate Cameron and driver Mike Lachance finished second. Tequila Slammer finshed third.

"She had gotten beat twice [in photo finishes] before coming here (to the Red Mile)," trainer Croghan said afterward. "She's a neat little filly and has really enjoyed it here."

When asked whether or not Spicy Wings will be heading to the Breeders Crown after her impressive performance, Croghan said, "I think so. At this point it is a likely scenario."

Poof! She Races Out Of A Hole

Having had just missed in the $441,750 final of the Peaceful Way Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack, Kadabra filly Poof Shes Gone had something to prove in the fifth and final division of the International Stallion Stakes -- and prove she did.

In rein to driver David Miller, Poof Shes Gone left from Post 2 and raced fourth through an opening half mile in which Southwind Samurai and Fouroclocktea took turns on the lead. The opening half fractions were cut in :28.2 and :57.2.

When Miller called on his mount first-up in the third panel, Poof Shes Gone appeared to do her work effortlessly. The lass accelerated right up into contention as the three quarters were cut in 1:26.4. The filly was well within herself in the final quarter; came home in a wrapped-up manner, and opened up late lengths in the 1:55.2 victory.

Southwind Samurai (driven by John Campbell) and Munis Blue Chip (Ray Schnittker) finished second and third, respectively.

"That was our plan -- to race her from off the pace," victorious driver Miller said about the student of Richard 'Nifty' Norman. "She did it well and comfortably and relaxed well in a hole."

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