10/25/2005 11:00PM

BC-quality trio in Nashua

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Pat Lang
Express News come into the Nashua off an allowance win at Keeneland.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Following two decisive wins to begin his career, it would not have been surprising to see Southern Express in the entries for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. But trainer Tim Ritchey decided to take a more conservative route.

Thus, Southern Success will run in Friday's Grade 3, $100,00 Nashua Stakes at Belmont Park. The Nashua, a one-turn mile race for 2-year-olds, drew a solid field of 10, including Bear Character and Diabolical, two horses that were pre-entered for the BC Juvenile but who did not crack the 14-horse field.

The Nashua was to have been one of two stakes on Friday's card, but racing officials postponed the $150,000 Knickerbocker Handicap till Sunday so they could save the rain-soaked turf course for Breeders' Cup Day.

, a son of Dixieland Band, accomplished a lot in a little time for Ritchey. On Sept. 28 at Delaware Park, he won a six-furlong maiden race by 7 1/2 lengths. He came back 10 days later and won the Dover Stakes by 4 1/4 lengths over a sloppy Delaware main track.

"He just needs more experience, that's why I opted for a little easier race than the Breeders' Cup," Ritchey said.

Ritchey said jockey Kendrick Caramouche told him "he had a lot of horse left" at the end of the Dover. Jeremy Rose, aboard for the maiden win, will be back aboard Southern Success on Friday.

Trainer Dale Greenwood was disappointed that Bear Character could not make it into the Juvenile field. A son of Dixie Union, Bear Character has won 3 of 5 starts, including the seven-furlong Swynford Stakes at Woodbine. Prior to that, he won three races at Northlands Park in Edmonton.

"He's done everything we've asked him to do all year," Greenwood said.

, a son of Storm Cat, has won his last two starts after finishing fourth behind Dr. Pleasure, a Breeders' Cup Juvenile starter, at Saratoga. Express News comes off a three-length win in an allowance race at Keeneland.

"His race at Keeneland was a very good effort," trainer Graham Motion said. "The Nashua seems likes a next logical step after running 6 1/2 furlongs. He really benefited from his first race at Saratoga. I don't crank my 2-year-olds first time, and he ran into a buzzsaw in Dr. Pleasure.

, who set a ridiculously fast pace in the Champagne, gets a rider change to Jerry Bailey and will break from post 10. Bluegrass Cat, a strong maiden winner second time out, and debut winners Great Point and Congo King add depth to the field.