12/31/2010 3:32PM

Breathoffreshheir lone stakes winner in Ruthless

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. − Trainer Ben Perkins Jr. was planning to ship his stakes-winning New Jersey-bred filly Breathoffreshheir to south Florida for the winter. However, at the beginning of December, when Perkins shipped 10 other horses to Gulfstream Park, Breathoffreshheir got sick and was forced to stay behind.

Given the lack of depth in Sunday’s $65,000 Ruthless Stakes, the timing of that illness may prove fortuitous.

As the only stakes winner in a modest field of six, Breathoffreshheir could be the horse to beat in Sunday’s Ruthless, a six-furlong race that drew a field of six. The race is carded as the third on the program.

Breathoffreshheir, a 2-year-old daughter of Wildcat Heir, went 2 for 2 against statebred company at Monmouth Park. In between those wins she finished second against open company in a first-level allowance race Oct. 3, when she raced between horses and was bumped at the eighth pole. According to Perkins, the stewards conducted a lengthy inquiry before letting the result stand.

Perkins said he believes the stewards could not determine whether the winner, Sopchoppy, or the third-place finisher, Pomeroys Pistol, was at fault.

“She got caught in between horses, and she got knocked sideways,” Perkins said. “The inside one came out, and the outside one came in. She got a lot of experience out of it.”

Breathoffreshheir switched to her wrong lead late in that race, something she repeated in winning the Jersey Juvenile Stakes on Nov. 13, when she was equipped with blinkers for the first time.

Carlos Marquez will ride Breathoffreshheir from post 4.

Sweet Susan, who has won 3 of 5 starts, ships up from Maryland for trainer Tim Tullock. Sweet Susan has three wins on dirt and wheels back 15 days after winning an allowance race going 6 1/2 furlongs at Charles Town on Dec. 18.

“In the old days it wasn’t back too quick,” Tullock said. “She’s acting pretty good. We’ll see if she can do it.”

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. shortens up Status Pending to six furlongs after she won her maiden by 4 1/2 lengths going two turns Dec. 5. Dutrow said Status Pending’s “sheet numbers” are faster sprinting than they were in her route victory.

“We’ll see if she can handle sprinting with these,” Dutrow said. “I don’t see this as a stupid move.”

Nashi, Aba Dabbler, and Flying Train complete the field.