08/15/2006 12:00AM

Chace City gettting a new start

Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
Chace City wins the Victoria at Woodbine in June in his second start. He broke poorly but closed fast next out in the Bashford Manor.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Ordinarily, a sixth-place finish, beaten 5 1/4 lengths would be deemed a disappointment for a horse that had won his previous two starts. But for Chace City, it had to be considered an accomplishment when he finished sixth in last month's Bashford Manor Stakes at Churchill Downs.

After a horrendous start in which he leapt twice after being bothered at the break, Chace City made up a ton of ground before running down the stretch on his wrong lead while finishing 5 1/4 lengths behind the winner, Circular Quay.

With a better trip, figures to play a more prominent role in the outcome of Thursday's Grade 2, $200,000 Saratoga Special Breeders' Cup at 6 1/2 furlongs. A field of seven was entered the race, including Shermanesque and Teuflesberg, who finished second and fourth in the Bashford Manor.

Chace City, a son of Carson City trained by Scott Blasi, won his first two starts, including the Victoria Stakes at Woodbine. His rail post and fragile psyche may have been his undoing in the Bashford Manor.

"He was in the 1 hole and [Shermanesque] broke out into him, and he overreacted to it a little bit and found himself in a spot he didn't want to be in," Blasi said. "He's an athletic horse. Trying to put it together mentally has been his biggest challenge. Physically, it's never been a question."

Blasi said Chace City has thrived at Saratoga where he has worked four times, including a half-mile move from the gate in 49 seconds on Monday. Edgar Prado has the call from a more advantageous post 6.

, a half-brother to two-time Saratoga juvenile stakes winner Countess Diana, made the lead in the stretch of the Bashford Manor before Circular Quay sliced his way through the field and up the rail to get the victory.

"We never had a chance to see him because he came up the inside," said Anthony Reinstedler, trainer of Shermanesque. "It was a top-quality field and if he takes a step forward off that race I feel good about everything."

Trainer Jamie Sanders elected to put in the Saratoga Special because he has continued to thrive since running second to Scat Daddy in the Sanford. Sanders will also run Fast n Ready, who won a high-priced maiden claiming race here on July 31.

Trainer Todd Pletcher will save Scat Daddy and Circular Quay for the Hopeful, but he'll run King of the Roxy in the Special.