07/05/2006 11:00PM

Favorites have opposite styles


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - They both hail from wildly successful mega-stables and will take plenty of action in the Bashford Manor Stakes, but Chace City and Circular Quay bring a few contrasts to the Grade 3 race Saturday at Churchill Downs.

, trained by Steve Asmussen, already is a stakes winner, having shipped to Woodbine to win the June 18 Victoria Stakes after winning at first asking on the opening race of the May 6 Kentucky Derby card at Churchill. By the noted speed sire Carson City, the precocious Chace City flaunted terrific speed in both starts, and will break from the inside post among a field of eight colts and geldings in the $150,000 Bashford Manor.

Conversely, , trained by Todd Pletcher, will be making his stakes debut after winning from well off the pace in his first and only race, a June 15 maiden special event at Churchill. By Thunder Gulch, a more classic-type sire, Circular Quay will start from the outside post when he and the rest of the Bashford Manor field make their first start at six furlongs.

"We were impressed with the way he ran when he broke his maiden," Michael McCarthy, Pletcher's Kentucky-based assistant, said of Circular Quay. "Obviously he has the benefit of some recency. We're looking for a good effort in what obviously is a competitive race."

Filling the gap between Chace City and Circular Quay are six 2-year-olds of lesser accomplishment or promise, although several appear to stand a decent chance of pulling what would be a mild upset, most notably Shermanesque and Run Alex Run.

And then there is the wild card of the group: , an unraced colt whose morning workouts have led Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas to take the bold step of trying stakes company right off the bat. Lukas, a five-time winner of the Bashford Manor, has called the colt "exceptional."

The rest of the Bashford Manor field is Mister Cugat, Elite Squadron, and Tueflesburg.

Pletcher had planned to run Minefield, a sharp May 14 maiden winner, as a second starter, but McCarthy said the colt recently came down with a slight temperature and had to be withheld.

The Bashford Manor anchors the card as the 10th of 11 races. The Bashford Manor's sister race, the $100,000 Debutante Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, is the co-featured eighth race. First post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.