05/29/2002 12:00AM

After two romps, Kingmaker heads to Unbridled Stakes


MIAMI - While Best of the Rest's game victory over a courageous High Ideal and a tiring Hal's Hope in the Grade 3 Memorial Day Handicap was undoubtedly the most important performance here over the holiday weekend, it may not have been the most impressive. That honor goes to the one given by an up-and-coming 3-year-old named Kingmaker. He blew away 2-5 favorite Royal Lad and five other 3-year-olds to win Sunday's $33,150 Marco Bay Stakes by five widening lengths.

The easy victory in the 6 1/2-furlong Marco Bay was the second in the last 12 days for Kingmaker, who had overpowered maiden competition by 10 1/2 lengths less than two weeks earlier. Kingmaker is a son of Langfuhr and the King Pellinore mare Esscorrie, which makes him a half-brother to stakes winner King Corrie. He is owned by his breeder, Michael Sherman's Farnsworth Farms, the Eclipse Award-winner in 1996 for breeding.

"He's big and good-looking, and I think he's got the makes of a distance horse," Sherman said on Monday. "The reason I ran him back on such short rest after his maiden victory was to get a prep into him for the Unbridled Stakes, which is around two turns. That's where he'll go next. By running him in the Marco Bay that gives us four weeks to get ready for the Unbridled."

The $100,000 Unbridled will be decided at 1 1/16 miles on June 22.

Royal Lad, who came into the Marco Bay having won his last three starts, including a pair of stakes, was easily second best, though no match for Kingmaker, and will likely by pointed for the $250,000 Carry Back Stakes at six furlongs on July 13.

Office Queen Stakes next for Cellars Shiraz

Trainer Bill Cesare said Cellars Shiraz, the top 3-year-old turf filly on the grounds, will make her next start in the $100,000 Office Queen Stakes on June 15. The Office Queen will be run at 1 1/16 miles over the main track.

Cellars Shiraz has posted three victories and two seconds in five starts on turf, including wins in the Herecomesthebride and Via Borghese Stakes this winter at Gulfstream. She has also won twice on dirt, including Gulfstream's Gaily Gaily Stakes, a race taken off the grass and moved to the main course.

"I believe she is better on turf, but she can also run well on dirt, and I think the competition here might be a little softer than what we'd probably run into in Kentucky if I shipped her there for the grass stakes that same afternoon," said Cesare, meaning the $150,000, Grade 3 Regret Stakes at Churchill, which is also on June 15.

Cesare said he was hoping Cellars Shiraz would get invited to the $500,000 American Oaks at Hollywood Park on July 6: "That race is by invitation only and is our main goal at the moment."

Surface switch boosts field

The early morning showers that forced Tuesday's races to be taken off the turf would, under normal circumstances, have greatly depleted the fields for the two scheduled grass races on the card. But in a refreshing change of pace, the switch to the main track actually increased the size of the starting lineup for Tuesday's fifth event.

The race would have had only 10 contestants if kept on the grass but instead offered a full field of 12, with only one defection from the main body of the race and all three also-eligibles drawing into the starting lineup.

Shootaloot ($14.40), a lightly raced colt from trainer Bill White's barn, led throughout to easily win the maiden allowance race easily over even-money favorite Galarus.