09/25/2010 6:07PM

Blue Eyed Sweetie leads gate to wire in Brave Raj

Jim Lisa
Blue Eyed Sweetie leads gate to wire to win the Brave Raj Stakes at Calder.

MIAMI – Blue Eyed Sweetie solidified her spot as the second-best 2-year-old filly on the grounds after setting all the pace en route to a popular one-length victory over a game Beso Grande in Saturday’s $85,000 Brave Raj Stakes at Calder.

Blue Eyed Sweetie, who scored an even more decisive victory over a similar field when making her two-turn debut four weeks earlier in the Lindsay Frolic, was allowed to coast along on a slow pace under jockey Manoel Cruz. Blue Eyed Sweetie set fractions of 24.89 seconds, 51.16, and 1:16.50 for the opening six furlongs over a main track upgraded from sloppy to good midway through the card. She then had enough left to withstand Beso Grande when engaged at the head of the stretch.

Beso Grande rated three lengths off the lead while racing between horses down the backstretch. She rallied three wide leaving the final bend, lugged in briefly, and dropped off the winner when failing to change leads until midstretch before surging again near the end.

Media Bias saved ground and held on willingly along the rail to finish another head further back in third.

Blue Eye Sweetie is a homebred daughter of West Acre owned by Gil Campbell. She paid $3 after covering a mile and 70 yards in 1:46.47.

“I was very surprised she was on the lead,” trainer Kathleen O’Connell said. “I didn’t want to see her in front and pressured the whole way over this dead track, but she broke extremely fast and she is a long striding filly who does have some speed. Even though she didn’t win this race as impressively as her last one, I thought it was a tremendous effort because of the way the racetrack was today.”

Blue Eyed Sweetie, who has already been beaten twice by the undefeted Awesome Feather, will take on the division leader again, as will Beso Grande, in the My Dear Girl division of the Florida Stallion Stakes on Oct. 16.

Foolish Pleasure: Ribo Bobo upsets

Ribo Bobo, stretching out around two turns for the first time in his career, surprised eight other 2-year-olds to register a 1 3/4-length decision over Swift Warrior in the $85,000 Foolish Pleasure.

Ribo Bobo, a beaten favorite going 5 1/2 furlongs just two weeks earlier, prompted the early pace of Machisa, gained command leaving the backstretch, edged clear, and then withstood Swift Warrior under a rousing ride by Eduardo Nunez. Swift Warrior launched a four-wide bid turning for home but could not sustain the rally while easily second best, checking home 3 1/4 lengths before 2-1 favorite Rough’n Royal.

Too Experience, who entered the Foolish Pleasure unbeaten in three starts, was never a serious factor and finished a well-beaten seventh.

Ribo Bobo completed a mile and 70 yards in 1:46.63 and paid $27.40.

“I thought he’d win his last start, but he just kind of hung,” said Manuel Azpurua, who trains Ribo Bobo for the partnership of the Raputi Stables and Carlota Stable. “He’s not eligible for the Florida Stallion Stakes, so we’ll look around to see what’s ahead, but there are plenty of opportunities.”

One trainer who doesn’t mind all the rain that has put the local turf course out of business for the better part of the month of September is Eddie Plesa Jr., who sent out the winners of both the $65,000 Judy’s Red Shoes and Needles stakes, both of which were switched from the grass to the main track as a result of rain.

Successful Song rallied from off the pace to an easy 3 1/4-length decision over 22-1 outsider Rare Bit in the Judy’s Red Shoes. Musical Romance finished third, with 1-5 favorite Trip for A.J. fading badly through the stretch to be fourth in a scratch-reduced field of seven 3-year-old fillies.

As a result of prohibitive favorite Trip for A.J. failing to hit the board, Successful Song returned $14.60 to win and $54.80 to show. Rare Bit paid $81 to show, while Musical Romance returned $37.80 for finishing third.

Plesa also sent out El Kingdom to an impressive 5 1/4-length triumph over pacesetter Bernie the Maestro in the Needles, with Tannersville rallying from far back to finish third. Bim Bam was fifth as the 2-1 favorite.

Both El Kingdom($14.40) and Successful Song were ridden to victory by leading jockey Luis Saez.

Riversrunrylee($13) led throughout to capture the $55,000 Joey Blueeyes Stakes, easily outlasting Sincero by 3 1/4 lengths, with 3-5 favorite Causeway’s Kin finishing a well-beaten third.