09/26/2005 11:00PM

Appetite improves, so does 'Classy'

Skip Smith
Aclassysassylassy ends a slump that lasted nearly a year in last weekend's Judy's Red Shoes Stakes.

MIAMI - The primary purpose of last Saturday's 13-race card was to showcase top 2-year-old talent for Calder's marquee event, the $1.6 million Festival of the Sun on Oct. 15. And in that regard the day proved a rousing success in light of impressive victories turned in by Blazing Rate in the $150,000 Foolish Pleasure Stakes, Mia's Reflection in the $150,000 Brave Raj Stakes, and Stolen Prayer in an allowance race.

But the star of the show turned out to be the same filly who proved to be the star of last year's Festival of the Sun. The diminutive Aclassysassylassy returned to the limelight for the first time in nearly a year with an easy victory in the $100,000 Judy's Red Shoes Stakes.

Aclassysassylassy became only the second filly to sweep the Florida Stallion Stakes with her victory in the 1 1/16-mile My Dear Girl on the 2004 Festival of the Sun card. But after winning her fourth straight stakes three weeks later, Aclassysassylassy went into a slump that lasted until Saturday. Even her trainer, Dave Vivian, was unsure what to expect in the Judy's Red Shoes.

"I was a little surprised she ran so well," said Vivian. "I was nervous about the race because she had been away for so long and her previous start was just so bad. At that point I knew something was radically wrong, although I couldn't exactly put my finger on what it was. She was completely sound but knocked out and totally sour. So I decided to send her to the farm and let her eat grass for a while."

Even upon her return earlier this summer, Aclassysassylassy wasn't doing as well as Vivian had hoped. Her biggest problem was a reluctance to empty out the feed tub on a regular basis.

"She wasn't right until about 10 days before this race," said Vivian. "That's when I had her teeth fixed and all of a sudden she began doing much better. After I worked her on the turf earlier in the week, she cleaned her feed right up, and that's when I knew we were on the right track."

The Judy's Red Shoes was only the second time Aclassysassylassy had started on the turf, although Vivian had said right from the start that he felt she would be a better horse on grass than dirt.

"She's bred both sides for the turf," Vivian said. "Her sire, Wild Event, was strictly turf, and her dam, Musical Halo, won all her races on grass. The problem was last year she was running so good on the dirt I didn't want to fool with it. For now I will probably lean toward the grass. She will run next in the Calder Oaks, although the way it rains around here we will be in good shape either way."

Rose's next move still uncertain

Trainer Barry Rose said he had a big decision to make following Mia's Reflection's easy win in the Brave Raj. Should he stay here for the Stallion Stakes finale, the $400,000 My Dear Girl Stakes, on Oct. 15, or await the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies two weeks later?

Rose was no closer to making that decision 72 hours later, and said Tuesday that he may not make up his mind until the last of the Breeders' Cup preps are decided a week from Saturday.

"I don't know how things will shake out for the Breeders' Cup and probably won't know until the last of the preps are finished," said Rose. "She's nominated for both the Stallion Stakes and Breeders' Cup. We nominate all our babies for everything because we always have high hopes, and obviously we can't do both. That wouldn't be doing right by the horse."

Mia's Reflection will likely be a co-favorite along with Running Lass, who captured the first two legs of the Stallion Stakes, if she runs in the 1 1/16-mile My Dear Girl.

"We've already been to the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, so we're not looking to make a trip to New York just to run in a Breeders' Cup," said Rose. "I won't go if I don't feel we have a legitimate chance to win the race or at least be second. Winning the Stallion Stakes is worth $240,000 and will obviously be a much easier spot, so we're going to make sure we weigh all our options very carefully before making a final choice."