Updated on 09/18/2011 12:27AM

Circular Quay shows maturity beyond years

Circular Quay wins the Grade 3, $166,500 Bashford Manor Stakes at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Two-year-olds don't typically win early-season stakes with powerful inside rallies. But when Circular Quay prevailed that way Saturday in the Grade 3, $166,500 at Churchill Downs, it was difficult not to believe the Thunder Gulch colt has an unlimited future.

Circular Quay, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, glided past four rivals in the final eighth of the six-furlong Bashford Manor, remaining unbeaten in two starts. The colt also won his only previous start, a June 15 maiden race at Churchill, in rallying fashion.

"I asked him, and in five jumps he was in the front," said Bejarano.

Circular Quay returned $4.40 as the favorite in a field of eight 2-year-olds. Shermanesque finished second, 1 1/4 lengths behind, followed by Run Alex Run and Teuflesberg. The winning time was 1:09.96 over a fast track.

Shermanesque, ridden by Brice Blanc, appeared to have the 105th Bashford Manor under control just inside the eighth pole when he surged past several rivals inside the eighth pole. But Circular Quay's late run was overpowering.

"I passed him very easily," said Bejarano, who won four other races Saturday.

Chace City, the 9-2 third choice, jumped the inside rail to lose all chance soon after the start, winding up sixth. Pegasus Wind, the 5-1 fourth choice for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, pressed the pace to midstretch before fading to fifth in his career debut.

Circular Quay was bred by Doreen Tabor and is owned by Michael Tabor, the Englishman who won the 1995 Kentucky Derby with Thunder Gulch. In no small part because Thunder Gulch has become a proven sire at longer distances, Tabor's employees and associates who traveled to Churchill for the Bashford Manor, led by Demi O'Byrne, were ecstatic with the results. Todd Pletcher is the trainer of Circular Quay.

About an hour earlier, Richwoman ($5.20) stayed unbeaten when she edged Chagall in a ferocious stretch duel in the 106th running of the $109,700 , also run at six furlongs.

Bred and owned by the Heiligbrodt Racing Stable and ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, Richwoman threaded her way through traffic after trailing through most of the opening three furlongs of the Grade 3 Debutante. After a trio of front-runners grew leg-weary entering the stretch, Chagall, the 11-10 favorite under Bejarano, took command, but then Richwoman drew near from the outside, going past in the final sixteenth to win by a neck in 1:10.50. Lenaro finished third in a field of six 2-year-old fillies.

Richwoman, who added the Debutante to victories in a Keeneland maiden race and the Cinderella Stakes at Hollywood Park, "is a very talented, smart filly," said trainer Steve Asmussen. "All the obstacles she's been given, she has really showed us a lot. She beat a nice filly today."

Richwoman and Chagall are both Florida-breds by the noted speed sire Successful Appeal.