02/20/2009 1:00AM

Atoned looking sharp for his turf debut


OLDSMAR, Fla. - Atoned, the runner-up in last year's Tampa Bay Derby, is slated to make his turf debut here Saturday in the $150,000 Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup at 1 1/16 miles.

Chris DeCarlo, who rode Atoned to a nose victory in the Grade 3 Pegasus Stakes at the Meadowlands in his final start of 2008, will be back aboard the colt, who tops a wide-open field of 10.

Atoned, a son of Repent, was thought to be Triple Crown material after running second in the Grade 2 Remsen in his final start at 2. He came off a 3 1/2-month hiatus to make his 3-year-old debut in the Tampa Bay Derby and turned in a strong effort, driving clear a furlong out in that 1 1/16-mile race before falling victim to the late rally of Big Truck. Later in the year, back-to-back second-place finishes in the Long Branch and Spend a Buck Stakes at Monmouth prompted his connections to try Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown in the Haskell Invitational, but Atoned tired badly to finish sixth in his lone try with blinkers.

Fifth in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park, Atoned was given a six-week break before rallying from far back to take the Grade 3 Pegasus.

Atoned has been training smartly over the turf course at the Palm Meadows training center, including a sparkling five-furlong turf drill in 59.40 seconds around the dogs on Feb. 16.

Society's Chairman, who was beaten just a neck when second in the $100,000 Fort Lauderdale Stakes at Gulfstream in his 2009 debut for trainer Roger Attfield, tops Atoned's challengers.

Society's Chairman led a furlong out in the Fort Lauderdale before dropping a photo to Kiss the Kid in his first start since November. Last year, Society's Chairman won 4 of 10 outings, with three of those coming on the turf. Included in those wins was a stakes victory in the restricted Halton Stakes at Woodbine. The 6-year-old also was second, beaten a half-length, in the Grade 3 Connaught Cup over the Woodbine turf.

Furthest Land, who is undefeated in three starts for the red-hot Mike Maker stable, will try stakes company for the first time in the Tampa BC and bears a long look, as does Classic Campaign, who won a stakes at Fair Grounds on the main track two races back.