10/13/2010 1:44PM

Beso Grande looks to play spoiler in My Dear Girl

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MIAMI – While the undefeated Awesome Feather is clearly the horse to beat and the star of the show in Saturday’s My Dear Girl Stakes, there are several fillies in the field with a license to give the favorite a run for her money as she attempts to complete a sweep of the filly division of the Florida Stallion Stakes.

One of those is Beso Grande who was purchased privately by trainer Steve DiMauro for the Half Hollow Racing Stable following her career debut when she finished a late-running third going 4 1/2 furlongs after a slow start in mid-July. A daughter of Mass Media, Beso Grande returned quick dividends by winning her maiden going seven furlongs just three weeks later. DiMauro stretched her out to two turns for the first time and she finished a well-beaten third behind Blue Eyed Sweetie in the Lindsay Frolic Stakes on Aug. 28. She narrowed that gap considerably when finishing second to Blue Eyed Sweetie, despite racing a bit greenly through midstretch, in the Brave Raj.

“Her first race going long was okay, although I kind of expected a little more of her,” DiMauro said. “Last time, she came back and ran what I thought was a better race, so hopefully that means she’s improving as she matures and that she’s coming up to her best race on Saturday.”

Beso Grande lugged in briefly when finally changing leads near midstseretch of the Brave Raj, losing enough momentum to possibly cost her a chance at beating Blue Eyed Sweetie. She also had to rally off a snail-like pace, with the winner going her opening half in 51 seconds.

“I’m not sure why she changed leads late, although I thought it was the slow pace more than anything else that might have cost her the race,” DiMauro said. “There’s not a lot of pace in this race Saturday, but there should be a lot more than last time. One thing I’m pretty sure of is that Blue Eyed Sweetie won’t get loose on that type of a lead this time around.”

DiMauro worked Beso Grande a useful five furlongs here Sunday, breaking her off four lengths behind a stablemate and then letting her finish up strong and run past her partner in late stretch.

“The only reason I did that, break her off behind another horse, was because she laid in a little bit when coming to horses last time and I thought it might pick her head up a little bit and get her to feel better about herself to go by another horse like that when she worked,” DiMauro said.

Beso Grande will break from the rail in the My Dear Girl. The race lured a field of nine 2-year-old fillies, with the undefeated Awesome Feather starting from post 7 and Blue Eyed Sweetie on the extreme outside.

◗ There will be seven stakes on Saturday’s Festival of the Sun program, beginning with the six-furlong Birdonthewire for 2-year-olds that goes as the fourth event on the marathon 13-race card. After a break of one race, the stakes parade continues uninterrupted through the 12th with the $350,000 In Reality and Gourmet Dinner’s quest to sweep the open division of the Stallion Series providing a fitting conclusion.

◗ Eibar Coa, in town primarily to ride Little Drama for trainer David Fawkes in the In Reality, also has picked up a number of mounts, including several very live ones on Saturday’s undercard. Those include Flying Trip in the Cassidy, Trip for A.J. who is cross entered in both the Cinnamon Girl and Calder Oaks, The Marikutana in the My Dear Girl, Dream Maestro in the Grade 3 Spend A Buck, and Bim Bam in the Calder Derby.

Coa has won eight local riding titles including the 2009-2010 Tropical at Calder crown.