08/08/2007 11:00PM

Bond Princess has the look


MIAMI - Trainer Tim Ritvo thinks he's got a potential star in his 2-year-old filly Bond Princess. On Saturday, Ritvo should have a better idea if his assessment of the undefeated juvenile is correct when she goes postward as the favorite in the $100,000 Desert Vixen Stakes, which kicks off the 2007 Florida Stallion Stakes series along with the $100,000 Dr. Fager Stakes.

The Desert Vixen and Dr. Fager will both be decided at six furlongs and are the first in the traditional series of three races, which culminates with the $400,000 Susan's Girl and $400,000 In Reality stakes on Oct. 13.

Bond Princess came highly touted for her debut and did not disappoint as a 6-5 favorite under Elvis Trujillo. She overcame traffic problems, slipping through along the rail like an old veteran en route to a 9 1/2-length decision going six furlongs July 15.

"We've had substantial offers for the filly already, but we think we have a lot more horse and that it's too early to sell," said Ritvo who trains Bond Princess for Prime Time Thoroughbreds Inc. "So we're going to take a deep breath and try her in here with the hope that she not only wins but takes a step in the right direction to bigger and better things. There's always the possibility that we could continue on with the Stallion series, but if she were to win the right way, we might take a look at the Spinaway."

Bond Princess is well bred, being by Trippi and a half-sister to the stakes winner Papi Chullo.

"Having a race going six furlongs under her belt is a big advantage," Ritvo said. "At least we know going that far is not a question, although we believe she'll definitely stretch out further. So too is having Elvis aboard her again. We'll leave the trip up to him. We've always trained her to come from off the pace and I don't want to rush her, but if she finds herself close to or on the pace that will be fine."

Bond Princess will face seven rivals, all of whom have won their maidens. Her chief competition likely will come from the undefeated Calico Bay. A daughter of Three Wonders, Calico Bay rallied to an impressive four-length victory over a wet track on July 7, and her Beyer Speed Figure of 72 matches the one awarded to Bond Princess.

"Having the outside post was a big plus the first time and we've got the outside again on Saturday, which I think should be to our advantage," said Bill Kaplan who trains Calico Bay for owners Ione and Herbert Elkin. "It's always good when you can get a young, relatively inexperienced 2-year-old outside and away from other horses."

Manoel Cruz, who is chasing Trujillo for leading rider honors, will again have the call on Calico Bay.

Her Greatness is the only other undefeated member of the Desert Vixen field, having won her lone start by a length under Trujillo going 4 1/2 furlongs three weeks earlier. Eddie Castro takes the mount Saturday.

A field of 11 colts and geldings will go in the Dr. Fager, led by Big City Man, who has won his last two starts, including the Criterium Stakes by 4 1/2 lengths over a sloppy track on July 7.

Topping the opposition are Honey Honey Honey, the stakes winner Brother Joey, and Wise Answer. Honey Honey Honey rebounded from a troubled third-place finish as the even-money favorite in the Criterium with an easy allowance victory 13 days later.

The field also includes the undefeated trio of Montbrook Code, Ed the Boxer, and Smooth Air, along with the promising maiden Dynhocracy. Both Wise Answer and Brother Joey will race in blinkers for the first time in the Dr. Fager.