05/13/2004 11:00PM

Fleet Indian large and in charge


ELMONT, N.Y. - New York-bred Fleet Indian has earned the nickname "Large Marge" around her barn because of her height - she stands 17 hands tall. A 3-year-old filly by Indian Charlie, Fleet Indian has also been an imposing figure on the racetrack, winning her two career starts by a combined margin of 10 3/4 lengths.

Fleet Indian was nominated to Sunday's $100,000-added Bouwerie Stakes for New York-breds, but her trainer, Jimmy Toner, is skipping the race because it comes up too quick off her last start on May 6.

Fleet Indian lived up to her short odds in her career debut on April 9 at Aqueduct when she beat statebred maidens by 8 1/2 lengths. Fleet Indian defeated 10 fillies and mares and covered the six furlongs in 1:10.84, which was two seconds faster than the split division of the same race later in the card.

In her last start, Fleet Indian stretched out to a mile and won a first-level allowance for New York-bred fillies and mares by 2 1/4 lengths.

Toner, who trains Fleet Indian for Stan Fulton, said he is looking forward to more good races from the filly.

"I think she is something special," said Toner, who began training a few horses for Fulton last summer. "We'll let her run through her conditions and see what happens. I think she's a little better than the average New York-bred. I would like to build her up [to stakes competition]."

Fleet Indian adds depth to an already tough group of New York-bred 3-year-old fillies. Three of the leaders of the division - Capeside Lady, Rodeo Licious, and Ihaveadate - are scheduled to meet in Sunday's Bouwerie.

Toner didn't race Fleet Indian as a 2-year-old, because she was too "big and gangly" and needed time to grow into her large frame.

"She is just so big, she almost has to cramp herself up to get in the starting gate; it's lucky she fits in there," Toner said. "But she has such a nice way of covering ground."

Fulton bought Fleet Indian for $230,000 at the Ocala Breeders Sales Company's March sale last year. Becky Thomas and Lewis Lakin, the co-owners of Lakland Farm North in Hudson, N.Y., bred Fleet Indian. Thomas and Lakin sold Fleet Indian for $40,000 as a yearling at Fasig Tipton's preferred sale in August 2002 at Saratoga. She was bought by Leprechaun Racing, agent, who consigned Fleet Indian to last year's OBS sale.

Fleet Indian is the third foal out of Hustleeta, a daughter of Afleet.

It has already been a fun year for Fulton, who has two stakes-winning 3-year-olds in his stable. Fulton owns St Averil, the Grade 2 Santa Catalina winner who is trained in California by Rafael Beccera, and Fire Slam, the winner of last weekend's Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs for trainer David Carroll.

Bending Strings enhances American Chance's stature

Bending Strings became the latest stakes winner for New York sire American Chance, who stands at Empire Stud in Hudson.

Bending Strings, a Kentucky-bred, won last Saturday's Grade 2 Nassau County Breeders' Cup at Belmont Park by 4 3/4 lengths. Bending Strings became the 18th stakes winner sired by American Chance from six crops. American Chance, owned by a syndicate, has stood in New York for the last three breeding seasons.

American Chance is a son of the late Cure the Blues, one of the most successful sires to have ever stood in New York.

* More than 100 New York-breds are in the catalog for Fasig-Tipton's Midlantic Sale of 2-year-olds in training on Monday and Tuesday in Timonium, Md. Among the sires representing the New York-breds are Carson City, Thunder Gulch, Summer Squall, and Two Punch.