09/03/2004 11:00PM

B.B. Best back for series' second leg


MIAMI - Hurricane Frances may have only delayed the inevitable for the seven colts who will face on Monday in the middle legs of Calder's Florida Stallion Stakes.

B.B. Best will be odds-on to capture the $125,000 Affirmed Stakes, while Aclassysassylassy also figures to be an overwhelming favorite in the $125,000 Susan's Girl Stakes. Both events will be decided at seven furlongs and highlight Calder's second annual Juvenile Showcase, a 13-race card consisting entirely of 2-year-old races which was originally scheduled for Saturday but postponed 48 hours due to Hurricane Frances.

B.B. Best won the first leg of the open division of the Stallion series, the six-furlong Dr. Fager, by three lengths as a 3-10 favorite. B.B. Best forced a 21.60-second opening quarter-mile but was still able to draw away impressively through the stretch.

The win was the third victory, all lopsided, in four starts for B.B. Best, a son of Yes It's True. His lone setback was a fourth-place finish behind Devils Disciple in the Criterium Stakes that puzzled his trainer, Eddie Plesa Jr.

"I don't know why he ran so poorly in the Criterium, but I knew my horse and was confident he'd run well in the Dr. Fager," said Plesa, who trains B.B. Best for his wife, Laurie, and Bea Oxenberg.

Plesa is also unconcerned about the added distance B.B. Best must travel to win the Affirmed.

"How far he'll ultimately go, I really don't know, but at the moment I don't see any distance limitations," said Plesa, who made sure B.B. Best would be fit enough for the Affirmed by working him a mile in 1:48 on Aug. 27.

Favre, who is owned by the Thorobeam Farm and Henry Mast, will be back for another shot at B.B. Best on Monday. Favre also is trained by Plesa, but the two will not be coupled.

By Montbrook, Favre rallied four wide to briefly loom a threat in early stretch in the Dr. Fager. He also worked a mile Aug. 27, going in 1:48.20.

Of the eight juveniles in the Affirmed, only Rompburger and Cin Cin did not compete in the Dr. Fager.

Rompburger, the likely pacesetter in the Affirmed, has posted easy victories in each of his first two starts but has yet to run beyond five furlongs. He is one of two members of the Affirmed field trained by Manny Tortora, along with Captain Lindsay.

Cin Cin is the only member of the field with a victory at seven furlongs. Racing with Lasix for the first time, Cin Cin rallied to a 4 1/4-length maiden win on Aug. 16. His 83 Beyer Speed Figure was a point higher than B.B. Best received for his performance in the Dr. Fager two days earlier.

Aclassysassylassy rallied to a 3 1/4-length decision over Cut the Mustard and 10 other juvenile fillies in the Desert Vixen Stakes. Six of her victims that day will return for the Susan's Girl, with Lady Ana L. the only new face in the lineup.

A petite daughter of Wild Event, Aclassysassylassy is trained by Dave Vivian for his wife, Barbara, and Dominic Vittese.

"Because she is so small, I like to give her plenty of time between starts," said Vivian. "I also don't see her having any trouble stretching out since she's got a nice way of going and is bred on both sides to go long."

Midtown Miss, who finished fourth after breaking poorly in the Desert Vixen, and the speedy Cut the Mustard may have the best chances of upsetting Aclassysassylassy in the Susan's Girl.

The Juvenile Showcase also includes four other stakes, each valued at $50,000. Two of those races, the five-furlong Fasig-Tipton Turf Dash and five-furlong Catcharisingstar, were scheduled to be run on the grass but are expected to be switched back to the main track because of the lingering effects of Hurricane Frances.