09/05/2013 3:04PM

Churchill Downs: Stonetastic enters Pocahontas Stakes off impressive debut

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Kelly Breen is no longer a college dude, but the 44-year-old trainer has a youthful vigor that should make him feel right at home Saturday night at Churchill Downs.

It’s College Rivalry Night on another Downs After Dark card at Churchill, and although Breen might be tempted to pull on some Rutgers garb in honor of the largest university in his native New Jersey, he is 1-9 to be wearing his trademark fedora and dress-up clothes. After all, Breen will be all business during the 11-race card when saddling four horses for three graded stakes, the first of which will be a 2-year-old filly named Stonetastic in the Grade 2, $150,000 Pocahontas Stakes.

Stonetastic, with Joe Bravo back to ride, won her only start by 12 1/2 lengths at Monmouth Park, where Breen has become a perennial leading trainer. Owned by Stoneway Farm, she drew the outside post in a field of eight for the 1 1/16-mile Pocahontas, which goes as the sixth race. First post is 6 p.m. Eastern, with the Pocahontas going at 8:30.

“I keep telling the owners, ‘Stonetastic is fantastic,’ ” said Breen, whose purpose for traveling to Kentucky this weekend includes looking for new horses at the Keeneland yearling sale. “She really is. She’s got a high cruising speed. The way she trains, I think two turns will suit her fine.”

Stonetastic figures to vie for favoritism in the Pocahontas with Untapable (post 1, Rosie Napravnik), who also was a sharp winner in her only prior start, a June 20 maiden sprint at Churchill. The filly was scratched from the Aug. 11 Adirondack Stakes after a bout with colic, but trainer Steve Asmussen said she recovered quickly and enters this race in good shape.

Other major players in this 45th running of the Pocahontas include Elena Strikes (post 2, John Velazquez), most recently third in the Grade 3 Schuylerville on July 19 at Saratoga for Stonestreet Stables and trainer Todd Pletcher, and Rosalind (post 4, Victor Lebron), a drawing-off winner of a one-mile turf race at Ellis Park in her only appearance.

Ken McPeek hopes Rosalind follows in the tradition of a number of other young horses he has trained who proved themselves to be stakes caliber after winning a two-turn maiden race on the Ellis turf. Kathmanblu and Java’s War are two recent examples of those.

Rosalind, by Broken Vow, “might like the turf better, but we’ll give her a run and see how good she is on the dirt,” McPeek said. “If she runs well, I’ll probably bring her back in the Alcibiades. If not, back to the turf.”

The Pocahontas is a Win and You’re In race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita in November. It was formerly run as a one-turn mile, but both the Pocahontas and its male counterpart, the Iroquois, were lengthened slightly and moved from their customary spots on opening weekend of the Churchill fall meet to help fill the stakes schedule at the new September meet.

The Pocahontas will be followed Saturday by the Iroquois, the Locust Grove, and the Ack Ack. Breen has Solemnly Swear and Jimmy Connors in the Iroquois and Pants On Fire in the Ack Ack.

This will be the first of two Downs After Dark cards at the 12-day September meet. General admission is $10. The second is set for Sept. 28.

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ashley_jessica1 More than 1 year ago
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Jeanne More than 1 year ago
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