10/01/2009 11:00PM

Careless Jewel proves quite a bargain

Barbara D. Livingston
Careless Jewel will be seeking her third consecutive graded stakes victory in the Cotillion.

Two years ago, Vern Dubinsky put up $300,000 with the intention of buying three fillies at the Keeneland September yearling sale as racing prospects. But after the first two purchases, just $10,000 was left in his budget.

Ciaran Dunne, an agent acting on Dubinsky's behalf, called and told his client he had spotted a daughter of Tapit who he believed would sell for far less than $100,000.

"I was about out of money," Dubinsky recalled earlier this week. "He talked me into buying this one. She's proven to be quite a bargain."

The $40,000 purchase, unraced at 2 because of a bone chip in a knee, is Careless Jewel, who has developed rapidly to become the best 3-year-old filly in North America aside from Rachel Alexandra.

Careless Jewel will seek her third consecutive graded stakes victory in Saturday's Grade 2, $750,000 Fitz Dixon Cotillion at Philadelphia Park.

Dubinsky, who races Careless Jewel with his wife, Donna, as Donover Stable, said if all goes well in the 1 1/16-mile Cotillion, he would like to take the Woodbine-based filly to Santa Anita to face older females in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic.

"She's not only the best horse we've ever had, she's the best horse we probably ever will have," said Dubinsky of Careless Jewel, who is 4 for 5 lifetime, including dominating performances in the in her two most recent starts.

The Dubinskys, who live in Edmonton, Alberta, previously raced five stakes winners - all at minor tracks Northlands and Stampede in Canada.

Dubinsky and trainer Josie Carroll chose to ship Careless Jewel to Philly Park, where she will face five other 3-year-old fillies, including graded stakes winners Just Jenda and Cat Moves, rather than stay at home last weekend for the Grade 3 Selene.

By skipping the Selene, Careless Jewel essentially is out of the running for a Sovereign Award as Canada's champion 3-year-old filly because she has started only twice north of the border, one below the minimum requirement for eligibllity.

"Awards are nice," Dubinsky said. "But the purse for the Selene was $250,000 versus $750,000 in the Cotillion, and that's a lot of money."

Although Careless Jewel has posted back-to-back Beyer Speed Figures of 103 and 106 since switching to dirt, Dubinsky said he feels she could be equally effective on the synthetic Pro-Ride at Santa Anita, site of next month's Breeders' Cup.

"I wouldn't be afraid to run her on any surface," Dubinsky said. "It might be a case where she's just gotten better on dirt because she's still improving. She's still very lightly raced."

Although Dubinsky said it's possible Careless Jewel could be turned out for the season after the Cotillion, he's leaning toward taking a shot at the Breeders' Cup.

"If everything goes well Saturday, we probably will," he said.

He cautioned, however, that he's not looking past the Cotillion, where the opposition includes the Larry Jones-trained Just Jenda, winner of the Grade 3 Honeybee at Oaklawn in March and the at Belmont but has yet to race beyond seven furlongs.

"Our filly is training well," Dubinsky said of Careless Jewel, who shows a bullet six-furlong work and a four-furlong move in 47.80 seconds since Sept. 20. "But I'm also really nervous, I don't think this will be an easy race."

He pointed out that Careless Jewel must concede 10 pounds to Cat Moves as the 124-pound highweight.

The Cotillion field also includes Mary's Follies, who won the on turf at Monmouth and was second in the off-the-turf Lake George at Saratoga, and five-time winner Bon Jovi Girl, who has been off since failing to fire as the 3-5 favorite in the Delaware Oaks 2 1/2 months ago.