07/23/2007 12:00AM

Bargain buy Carbella scores 2nd straight stakes win


SANTA ROSA, Calif. - Beauty can be in the eye of the beholder, and trainer Adam Kitchingman couldn't believe that bidders didn't see what he saw when Carbella walked into the sales ring at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky sale as a yearling Oct. 24, 2006.

"I was expecting to pay more than $5,500 for her," he said. "She was gorgeous but a little offset in the knees."

The partnership that owns Carbella can be thankful that the beauty they saw was overlooked by others again this year when Carbella was entered in the Barretts sale but did not sell.

The 2-year-old filly surely looks good to everyone now that she won her second straight stakes race on Saturday - the Wine Country Juvenile Filly Stakes at the Sonoma County Fair. She had won the Juan Gonzalez at Pleasanton despite encountering trouble at the start and falling far behind early.

Carbella has finished first in all four starts of her career, although she was disqualified from victory in her debut.

Jockey Russell Baze, who rode her for the first time Saturday, said he believes she has a good future.

"She has a good mind and is not speed crazy," Baze said.

Kitchingman agreed.

"She's easy to train, doesn't need a lot," he said. "She's just a real smart 2-year-old filly."

Carbella led wire to wire in her first two starts. She rallied from midpack to win on Saturday.

"I expected her to fire away more than she did," Baze said. "She veered out a little bit at the start. Once she got on her feet, I just chirped to her one time, and she grabbed the bit. I just sat on her. She responded when I did ask, but she did it quite easily, eased up at the end."

Kitchingman's assistant Hector Rangel said that Carbella's tendency to break out can be cured during drills.

Carbella is an Illinois-bred, and Kitchingman is plotting her future.

"I don't know how long she'll go," he said. "I plan to go to the Barretts race and an Illinois stakes race. We know she can sprint."

Meanwhile, trainer Billy Morey was pleased with Shes a Lucky Wager's second-place finish to Carbella. She made up six lengths in the stretch, but didn't seriously threaten to win.

"I was a little worried going down the backstretch, but down the lane, wow, she was flying," Morey said. "She ran super. We have plenty of options. That filly that won is really 4 for 4. She's legitimate."

Morey claimed Shes a Lucky Wager for $25,000 in her previous start, winning a three-way shake.

"I just saw what everybody else could see on paper," he said.

Handle down

The all-source handle for the first five days of the Sonoma County Fair meet was down slightly from 2006, dipping 1.7 percent from $14,731,002 in 2006 to $14,475,034 this year.

The handle picked up over the weekend.

Luther Burbank nominees

Fifteen fillies and mares were nominated to Saturday's $50,000 Luther Burbank Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer nominated Grade 1 winner Hystericalady and Somethinaboutlaura, who has won three straight stakes starts, including the Grade 2 A Gleam at Hollywood Park.

Also nominated were Snowdrop, coming off a seven-length win on the main track at Pleasanton in the Alameda County Fillies & Mares Handicap, and the stakes winners Illuminise and Round Trip Flight.

$1,000 raised for equine rescue

Track announcer Vic Stauffer and his co-host Danny Holmes raised over $1,000 at their handicapping seminars over the weekend for the Glen Ellen Vocational Academy, the non-profit equine rescue foundation run single-handed by former steward Pam Berg.

The academy is home to 30 horses.

Stauffer contributed $200 on Sunday when he and horse owner Bob Bone, Sunday's seminar guest, competed in a handicapping contest on the day's races. Each bet a mythical $2 across the board on their top pick in each race with Bone defeating Stauffer by $27.20. The loser had to donate $200 to the foundation.

Stauffer said that contributions to the academy would be sought again next Saturday. Among items for auction offered to raise funds for the academy are Russell Baze-autographed pictures of Baze riding Eclipse winner Lost in the Fog.

At Saturday's handicapping seminar, Thoroughbred Owners of California representatives will be available to provide information about horse ownership.

Mule sets record

Smoking Joe, who has been in the shadow of Sarah Nelson and JF Geneo all year, set a track record for mules for 400 yards at Santa Rosa on Sunday.

Smoking Joe ran 400 yards in 22.877 seconds, defeating Eye of the Hawk by 1 1/4 lengths while breaking Evelyn Nelson's 2005 record of 23.598 for the distance.

The first five finishers in Sunday's race ran faster than Evelyn Nelson's record.

Horses going from Golden Gate

All horses stabled at Golden Gate Fields will be out of the barn area by Wednesday as construction of the new Tapeta surface continues. Work on the track began Monday and the final remaining horses on the grounds were being prepared for a move to Bay Meadows.

Bay Meadows, Pleasanton, and Vallejo have put up temporary stalls to handle the horse population, which is expected to be able to return to Golden Gate Fields the second week of October.

While the new synthetic track is being installed, Golden Gate will make improvements to the barn area.