10/27/2005 11:00PM

Bella Fortuna comes right back in stakes bid


ELMONT, N.Y. - Barclay Tagg isn't one to rush horses into stakes races, but he is making an exception with his impressive maiden winner Bella Fortuna, who is one of eight juvenile fillies entered in Sunday's Grade 3, $100,000 Tempted Stakes at Belmont Park.

The Tempted, one of four stakes on Belmont's closing-day card, is run at one mile around one turn.

Sent off at 31-1 in her debut, Bella Fortuna showed good speed from her rail post position, opened up two lengths while running a quarter in 22.62 seconds, and was kept to her task in winning by two lengths. She ran six furlongs in 1:10.60 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 87.

Bella Fortuna wheels back on just two weeks' rest, but Tagg said he was impressed with "how easy it all seemed" for Bella Fortuna in her first race. Pablo Fragoso, who rode Bella Fortuna in her debut, will ride the filly from post 8.

"I'm a very conservative person as a general rule," Tagg said. "But when you have a precocious 2-year-old like that, sometimes it's their easiest chance to win a little stakes. You can put them on the shelf and you might not ever get them back. If she improves off her race she ought to have a good chance."

Tagg said he doesn't have reservations about stretching Bella Fortuna, a daughter of Louis Quatorze, out from six furlongs to a mile.

"She acts like she's got a lot of class," Tagg said. "I haven't seen anything about her that makes me think she couldn't go a mile."

Bella Fortuna is one of three debut winners who look like they could step up in their second start and earn a stakes victory. Capote's Crown won her debut going 6 1/2 furlongs on Oct. 2. Like Bella Fortuna, Capote's Crown broke from the rail and flashed good speed while drawing off to win by 2 1/2 lengths.

Capote's Crown is a half-sister to Smoke Glacken and Smokey Glacken - Smokey Glacken is running in Sunday's First Flight Handicap - who were both stakes winners at 2.

"She's trained like a nice filly and ran like a nice filly," trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. "She did surprise me the way she ran. It's hard to win from the 1-hole going 6 1/2 furlongs."

Capote's Crown has post 1 again in the Tempted.

In 1997, Bill Mott won the Nashua with Ajina, who went on to win the Demoiselle and then the following year's Breeders' Cup Distaff. In the Tempted, Mott sends out Jinni, who is out of Ajina by A.P. Indy. Jinni won her debut at the Tempted distance of a mile, though her final time was a pedestrian 1:40.57.

"She made the lead around the quarter pole and got somewhat disinterested," Mott said. "She had trained well, and it looked like she wanted to go farther."

Sparkling Pink, a daughter of Marquetry, is the only stakes winner in the field, having won the NATC Futurity at Monmouth Park on Sept. 24. As the 121-pound highweight, she must spot four to six pounds to the rest in the field.

Also entered in the Tempted are Better Now, Swap Fliparoo, Dance Daily, and Wonder Lady Anne L.

Silver Charades heads Gaviola

Silver Charades was a tough-luck loser of the Auntie Mame Stakes here last month when Connie Belle somehow got her nose down on the wire first at the end of a prolonged stretch drive. Silver Charades is one of several contenders in Sunday's $65,000 Gaviola Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on the Widener Turf Course.

Silver Charades has a win and two seconds since being moved to trainer Christophe Clement's New York stable. She has yet to run beyond a mile, but her running style doesn't suggest she should have any limitations.

Forever Smart and Half Heaven, who finished less than a length behind Silver Charades in the Auntie Mame, are also contenders. Half Heaven is 2 for 3 at 1 1/16 miles, while Forever Smart will be making her third start off a layoff.

Finlandia, a New York-bred, is 2 for 4 on turf, and is 2 for 2 at the 1 1/16-miles. She won a New York-bred second level allowance race last out.

Bluegrass Cat wins Nashua

John Velazquez was able to get Bluegrass Cat off the rail in upper stretch and then the tandem wore down Diabolical inside the eighth pole, drawing clear to a 1 1/4-length victory in Friday's Grade 3, $113,000 Nashua Stakes for juvenile colts.

Political Force rallied for second, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Diabolical. Too Much Bling, the 2-1 favorite, faded to sixth after making a huge move around the far turn.

The victory was one of three on the card for trainer Todd Pletcher and Velazquez.

Bluegrass Cat covered the mile in 1:36.02 and returned $10.40 to win.

Horsemen aid burn victims

A group of New York horsemen that includes trainer Mark Hennig and jockey John Velazquez presented the family of three sisters burned in a fire last December with a check for $5,500 after the fifth race on Friday.

Sisters Naomi Siquencia, 8, Alexandra Sandovar, 5, and Carolina Sandovar, 3, suffered severe burns to their face, hands, and bodies in a Dec. 15, 2004 fire in Jackson Heights, N.Y. The mother of the children was killed in the fire, and the father died a few months later.

Daniel Mundy, Hennig's brother-in-law, is the captain of New York Fire Company Ladder 138, which responded to the fire and saved the children, who now live with their aunt Rena Gomez.

The children, who were in attendance at Belmont Park Friday, will be required to wear protective burn suits for several more years, and insurance does not cover the cost of those suits.

For more information or to make a donation, contact NYFD Ladder Company 138 at (718) 476-6289 or email Hennig at Hennigracing@aol.com.

Miss Oceana highlights Big A opener

Racing switches at Aqueduct on Wednesday with first post at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday's feature is the $65,000 Miss Oceana Stakes for 3-year-old fillies who have not won a stakes race.

Play Ballado, a daughter of Saint Ballado, won an entry-level allowance race by 6 1/4 lengths here on Oct. 10. Overall, she is 2 for 3 in her career. Other contenders in the field include Ever Elusive, Classy Charm and I'mtoogoodtobeture.