Updated on 09/17/2011 7:06PM

Charming Socialite versatile


Charming Socialite has used his explosive closing kick to make some waves in Texas sprint stakes over the past few months, but he has another side to his running style, and it might be called on Saturday night in the $40,000 Conroe Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park.

Charming Socialite could be closer to the pace than usual in the Conroe, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds. For one, he drew inside for the first time in a while, getting post 2. Charming Socialite also finds a race that does not appear to be laden with speed, so he should be closer than he was in winning the $67,000 Alysheba Breeders' Cup on Oct. 2 at Lone Star, where he closed from last to defeat Grade 2 winner Bwana Charlie.

In his next start, Bwana Charlie ran fourth in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Sprint.

"I hope the others hook up on the front end, but if nobody wants [the lead], then we'll take it," said Bill Pettit, who trains Charming Socialite and co-owns him with Paul Sutton. "He can run either way. If there's a lot of speed, we'll let him rate way off of it. If there's not that much speed, we'll let him be closer."

Charming Socialite, who through Thursday ranked as this year's top 3-year-old Texas-bred on the Texas Thoroughbred Association's points system, appears to be coming into another strong effort Saturday. He has won three of his last four starts, with his one defeat in that time coming in the two-turn Lone Star Derby.

"It's a little hard to keep him on the ground now," said Pettit. Larry Taylor has the mount.

Artemus Sunrise could set the pace in the Conroe after cutting the early fractions in the $60,000 Thanksgiving Handicap at Fair Grounds on Nov. 25. He finished a close fourth in the race, and one start prior captured a Churchill Downs allowance wire to wire with a career-best Beyer Figure of 105.