07/22/2003 11:00PM

Bronze Route's defection raises CTBA cast to 10


DEL MAR, Calif. - The $125,000 California Thoroughbred Breeders Association Stakes at Del Mar on Friday is missing two of the top California-bred 2-year-old fillies.

Tizdubai, a full sister to two-time Breeders' Cup Classic winner Tiznow, is waiting for the $150,000 Sorrento Stakes on Aug. 9. Bronze Route, a half-sister to the multiple stakes winner Golden Ballet, was being pointed for the CTBA Stakes until she tied up on Wednesday morning.

Trainer Jenine Sahadi said a loose horse spooked Bronze Route on the racetrack while she was galloping.

"It was mass chaos," Sahadi said. "She totally tied up. I treated her, but I can't run."

Without those two, the CTBA Stakes lacks a standout among the 10 fillies who were entered. Six of the entrants are maidens.

At mid-morning there were only five fillies entered, but when word circulated that Bronze Route was not starting, more owners and trainers decided to take a chance.

Because of the defections, Smoke Break, second to Yogi's Polar Bear in the Cinderella Stakes at Hollywood Park on June 8, may inherit the role of favorite. Trained by Gil Matos, she won a maiden race at Bay Meadows on May 1. In the Cinderella Stakes, Smoke Break led to midstretch before finishing three lengths behind Yogi's Polar Bear.

Dirty Diana should improve off her fifth in the Cinderella. She was an impressive winner of a maiden race at Hollywood Park April 24. Shortly after that race, she was purchased privately and transferred to Bob Baffert. The Cinderella was her only start for her new connections.

Another runner with stakes experience is Car Lady, who was fourth in the Nursery Stakes at Hollywood Park on May 11, finishing six lengths behind Wacky Patty, who later won the Landaluce Stakes.

The fillies that finished behind Bronze Route and Tizdubai will be well supported.

Blowing Bartok ran a winning race when she was beaten a length by Tizdubai on July 6. Trained by Jorge Gutierrez, Blowing Bartok led in midstretch before being caught by Tizdubai. Blowing Bartok finished seven lengths clear of third in that field.

Champ's Rocket and Poet's Studio finished second and third behind Bronze Route in the five-furlong maiden race on June 19. Champ's Rocket was beaten a length by Bronze Route. Trained by Jerry Dutton, Champ's Rocket rallied from sixth after a poor start. She finished a half-length in front of Poet's Studio, who fought for the lead and was a factor even in the final strides.