03/31/2010 11:00PM

Florida-breds in spotlight for six stakes


OLDSMAR, Fla. - Some of the better Florida-breds in training will be on display Saturday when Tampa Bay Downs joins the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association and the local chapter of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association in presenting the seventh annual Florida Cup Day.

The 12-race Florida Cup program will include six stakes restricted to registered Florida-breds, each offering a purse of $85,000.

One of the better stakes on the card is race 8, the seven-furlong Sophomore Fillies for 3-year-old fillies. This race pits Florida Oaks runner-up C C's Pal against Island Time, an extremely talented filly who romped to a 6 1/4-length win here in a prep for this race while racing 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.89, less than a second off the track record.

Trainer Derek Ryan has been pleased with the improvement of C C's Pal since she was purchased for one of his principal owners, Eric Fein, and sent to his barn two races back. C C's Pal finished seventh, beaten 4 1/4 lengths in the Suncoast, after being hung wide much of the trip, then came back in the Grade 3 Florida Oaks to turn in a sparkling effort in defeat. She stalked the pace inside then got through along the rail to challenge for the lead a furlong out before giving way to favored Diva Delite, who extended her winning streak to five races in the 1 1/16-mile Oaks.

"She's earned black type and is stakes placed," Ryan said of C C's Pal. "Now we'd like to win a stake with her. She's a pretty versatile filly so we're thinking she'll be able to adapt to the turn back in distance. We've drawn the inside again so saving ground won't be a problem. Let's just hope the speed will come back to us a bit."

Island Time impressed many in her Cup Day preview, moving to the lead into the stretch then drawing off smartly when asked by jockey Daniel Centeno, who will be back aboard again on Saturday. She also won her 2010 debut at Gulfstream over statebreds and figures to be on or near the lead from the start.

* Stakes winners Close Out and Scolara top a solid field of nine fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on turf in the Turf Distaff (race 5).

Close Out, trained by Tom Proctor, was head and head for the lead into the final furlong of the Grade 3 The Very One Stakes before fading to sixth, and was a close fourth to stablemate Tight Precision in the nine-furlong Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf in January.

Scolara came off a short break to take an optional claimer on the turf at Gulfstream and won two stakes on the grass last season.

* Pelican Stakes winner Sneaking Uponyou tops a field of nine entered for the Sprint (race 6). The prime challenger could be the 8-year-old Blind River Fox, who set a track record for five furlongs en route to a win with high-priced claiming sprinters last time out.

* In addition to Close Out, Proctor has a strong entrant in the seventh race, the Sophomore Turf. Family Foundation, a fast-closing second in the $100,000 Appleton Juvenile Turf at Calder, makes her first start of 2010.

Other contenders include two-time local winner Thunder Brew, trained by Anthony Pecoraro, and Gator Tiger, who led into the final strides of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Championship before losing by a neck to Quiet All American

* Vanquisher and No Inflation head a big field of older turf runners in the 1 1/8-mile Turf Classic (race 9). Although 14 are entered, a maximum of 12 will be allowed to start.

* Good Lord, who impressed winning a prep in near track-record time for 6 1/2 furlongs, is the top threat in the seven-furlong Sophomore Sprint (race 4). Stakes-placed Thank U Phillippe and recent Gulfstream winner My Charming Clyde also merit respect.