03/18/2007 11:00PM

Best is yet to come for Rags to Riches

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Is there any doubt that Rags to Riches is the country's best 3-year-old filly after her easy score in the Santa Anita Oaks? Last year's champion 2-year-old filly, Dreaming of Anna, has lost her two starts at 3 and will be best served by remaining on turf, her preferred surface. Rags to Riches was bred to be most effective at 3 and 4. By A.P. Indy, she is out of the classy Deputy Minister broodmare Better Than Honour, who won the Demoiselle Stakes and finished second in the Acorn and third in the Mother Goose Stakes. Rags to Riches's second dam, Blush With Pride, won the Kentucky Oaks, and this superior female family produced El Gran Senor, Try My Best and Compliance. The best is yet to come from Rags to Riches, who simply has no competition from the West Coast 3-year-old fillies. While she appears to have the Kentucky Oaks at her mercy, and her trainer, Todd Pletcher, has a zillion 3-year-colts for the Derby, do not be surprised if Rags to Riches - a half-sister to Belmont Stakes winner Jazil - makes a run for glory against the colts in the Derby. She is certainly bred to relish 1 1/4 miles.

Aqueduct

Of 10 maiden fillies and mares in Aqueduct's ninth race on March 11, the two first-time starters ran one-two. Starship Cruiser, a 4-year-old filly by Golden Missile, won the six-furlong maiden race by eight lengths over Timirene. Starship Cruiser is out of the 24-year-old stakes-winning Fappiano mare Wakonda. This is the productive female family of Ride the Trails, the dam of grass champion and top sire Cozzene. Timirene is by Group 1 winner Lycius, a son of Mr. Prospector who prospered on the grass in Europe. Timirene's third dam is the multiple stakes winner Just a Game.

Fair Grounds

Brahms Lullaby won a six-furlong maiden race for 3-year-old colts on March 10 by 2 1/2 lengths at 13-1. Brahms Lullaby is by Hollywood Derby winner Brahms, who is by Danzig, out of champion Queena, who finished third in the Breeders' Cup Mile. Brahms Lullaby is out of the Capote mare Tally Ho Annie. His second dam, To the Hunt, is a half-sister to American Royale, who was a freaky fast stakes winner at 2. Finishing second was Rockerfeller, a Maria's Mon colt from the female family that produced Solar Splendor, Sultry Song, and Strategic Mission.

Gulfstream

Loconia, a 4-year-old colt by Rahy, won a 1 1/16-mile allowance on the turf on March 5. Loconia is out of the unraced Danzig mare Freedom of Speech, who is a daughter of multiple stakes winner Fantastic Find bred by Ogden Phipps. Freedom of Speech is a half-sister to Grade 1 stakes winner Finder's Fee. With many fillies from that female family retained by the Phipps, they sold Freedom of Speech. The Phipps Stable's Dancing Forever finished a fast-closing fourth behind Loconia after clipping heels soon after the start. Dancing Forever, also by Rahy, is out of the Seeking the Gold mare Dancinginmydreams, a full sister to Heavenly Prize who finished second in the Matron Stakes before breaking down badly in the Frizette Stakes. Heroic efforts saved her life, and Dancinginmydreams is her first foal. Loconia and Dancing Forever both trace to Blitey, the multiple-stakes-winning mare and blue hen.

* Fearless Vision, who had finished second in his only two starts, romped to a four-length victory in a one-mile maiden race on March 10. By Illinois Derby winner Vision and Verse, a son of Storm Cat who was second in the Belmont Stakes, Fearless Vision is out of the Mining mare Love Tunnel, who is inbred to the foundation mare Lady Be Good.

Oaklawn

Hope and Memories, a 3-year-old filly by Lemon Drop Kid, won a 1 1/16-mile maiden race on March 7 and could be a filly to watch as the year progresses. Most runners by Lemon Drop Kid are late-maturing, and it is reasonable to assume that Hope and Memories will only get better with age and distance. She is out of a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Memories of Silver and from the special Darby Dan female family that produced Brian's Time, Monarchos, Ryafan, and Darby Creek Road. Combined with the abundant class of her female family and grass prowess as a sire of Lemon Drop Kid, it would be no surprise to see Hope and Memories thrive if she ever gets on turf. Hope and Memories is trained by Larry Jones, who has Hard Spun on the Triple Crown trail.