08/15/2007 11:00PM

Blues Girl Too back on track


Blues Girl Too, the 2006 Quarter Horse champion 2-year-old filly, makes her 2007 debut in time trials for the Golden State Derby at Los Alamitos on Saturday, and trainer Joe Bassett has taken several precautions to ensure that she is ready for her first start since December.

Bassett has given Blues Girl Too an aggressive workout schedule for her comeback following surgery earlier this year to have bone chips removed from an ankle and knee.

And, Bassett has stuck around town. He was married earlier this month and has postponed his honeymoon with the former McKenze Treasure, the daughter of retired jockey Steve Treasure.

"My honeymoon was at Blane Schvaneveldt's yearling sale," he said. "We'll get to it."

Last year, Blues Girl Too won 5 of 7 starts and $1,214,666. After finishing second in the Ed Burke Million Futurity in June and Golden State Futurity in November, Blues Girl Too clinched the championship with a win in the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity in December. Her other four wins came in time trials and a maiden race.

"Running her back, I feel more pressure now than when I ran her last year," Bassett said. "You feel the need to validate what she did last year. I expect her to come back into form."

Saturday, Blues Girl Too starts in the second of three divisions of the Golden State Derby trials, which are run over 400 yards. The 10 fastest qualifiers earn berths to the $320,150 final on Sept. 1.

Owned by Lucky Seven Ranch, Blues Girl Too has won 3 of 4 starts at 400 yards, with her only loss coming by a neck to Jess You and I in the Golden State Futurity. She has had two recorded workouts for her comeback, including 350 yards in a quick 17.60 seconds on Aug. 1. Some Quarter Horses return with only one published workout.

"We want her as fit as possible, so the race is easier on her," he said. "In her last work, she really looked strong on the end of it. We haven't worked away from the gate because she's such an outstanding gate horse. We didn't feel she needed that strong of a work.

"She's doing great physically. I'm hoping for a good clean trip and a good experience for her first race back."

The trials have drawn strong fields. The first division is led by A Stoli Mate, winner of the Los Alamitos Winter Derby in February. Aside from Blues Girl Too, the second division includes Not a Full Moon, runner-up in the Governor's Cup Derby on July 28.

The last division features the unbeaten filly Fancys First Affair, who has won four starts but has not started since winning the La Primera Del Ano Derby in April.

Berth to $100K stakes on line

Sunday's program features the $20,000 John Deere California Region Distaff Challenge over 400 yards. The winner receives an automatic berth to the $100,000 Challenge Distaff Championship at Los Alamitos on Nov. 3.

What a Performance, winner of the Grade 1 Charger Bar Handicap at Los Alamitos in January, heads a list of candidates that includes Strength in Numbers, who was fourth against males in the Vessels Maturity in June, and Mia Jones, winner of two stakes this year.