08/30/2007 11:00PM

Harwood not worried about Smarty Deb


AUBURN, Wash. - Smarty Deb, the probable favorite for Sunday's $100,000 Barbara Shinpoch Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, will be stretching out to a mile for the first time after six weeks without a race. That might be cause for concern for some, but not for trainer Doris Harwood.

"I actually thought she was ready to go a mile and a sixteenth when I ran her last time, and she hasn't regressed any since then," said the trainer. "She hasn't missed a single workout, and she has been training great. She had her final workout on Thursday, and she looked fabulous. Ricky Frazier worked her in company with Russian and Elusive Horizon, and Ricky kept her with the other two until the deep stretch. When he asked her to run, she went by them without any effort at all. She was just playing with them."

Smarty Deb won her debut over stablemate Dat's Dream, who came back to turn in the fastest five furlong clocking ever recorded by a 2-year-old at Emerald - 56.60 seconds. She then came back to win the six-furlong Angie C. Stakes by more than a length over the talented Made for Magic despite breaking slowly. She had been reluctant to load that day and seemed to sulk after being packed in by force, but Harwood said she has been working on that problem.

"I've had her to the gate several times since that race, and now she understands what she has to do," said the trainer. "She likes to have things her way, but she is a smart filly and she has learned there are some things she can't fight. Now she walks in there like a lady."

Harwood won last year's Shinpoch with Irene's Bonus Baby, and she trains this year's leading 2-year-old male at Emerald, double stakes winner Margo's Gift. She also trains Smarty Deb's half-sister Shampoo, a winner of four straight stakes this season. Even so, she regards Smarty Deb as the star of her stable.

"I'm awfully excited about her," she said. "I think she might be the best horse I have ever trained. Of course she still has to prove it, but the potential is there. She has more talent than she has shown, a lot more, and I just hope she can stay healthy long enough to show people what she can do."

Jasmine's Melody doesn't disappoint

Among Smarty Deb's most intriguing challengers on Sunday will be Jasmine's Melody, who ran second to Made for Magic in her first start on June 3, then came back on Aug. 18 to defeat maiden special weight company by 6 3/4 lengths in a very quick 1:03.20 for 5 1/2 furlongs.

"That was the way we expected her to run the first time, to tell you the truth," said trainer Sue Villyard. "She didn't make any mistakes in her first race, but she came out of it a little body-sore and we gave her 30 days off. That seemed to do wonders for her, because she came back like a tiger."

Villyard said Jasmine's Melody, a daughter of Artax, was purchased by a bloodstock agent for owner Frank Gaunt last September at Keeneland. She spent most of the winter at El Dorado Farm, then came to the track to begin training in earnest in February.

"She showed a lot of ability right from the start, and she had the right attitude," said Villyard. "She reminds me a lot of Wild Cycle. She is not overly large, but everything is in the right place, and she is very determined. She's not speed-crazy, but once she gets to the front she doesn't want anybody to get by her. I think she'll give a good account of herself on Sunday."

Expected derby starters will pass

Monday's renewal of the $100,000 Emerald Derby will be a local affair after all, and it will also be all male. Sir Gallovic was expected to ship in from Vancouver and Leesider from Del Mar, but Sir Gallovic's connections opted to go in Hastings Park's Derby Trial and convenient transportation could not be found for Leesider.

As for Shampoo, who was slated to try to become the first filly to win the derby since Smogy Dew in 1964, her connections reconsidered. Trainer Harwood announced the change of plans after holding a strategy session with owner Jerre Paxton.

"She's going home to eat grass," said Harwood. "We just decided she has done enough for one year. She has nothing left to prove. She is the most accomplished 3-year-old on the grounds, regardless of what happens in the derby. I really wanted to run her on a fast track just to see what she could do, but there will be time to do that next year."

There will be a strong cast in the derby despite the defections. Expected to enter are stakes winners Call on Carson, Wild Cycle, and Mulcahy, plus the undefeated Song of Pirates, who ran a mile in 1:35.60 on the same day The Great Face won the Grade 3 Longacres Mile in 1:35.40.

Outofthebluebell dead at 22

Former Washington broodmare of the year Outofthebluebell died last Friday at Griffin Place in Buckley, Wash., at the age of 22.

Outofthebluebell, a stakes winner of eight races herself, produced six winners, including Grade 1 stakes winner Rings a Chime. Rings a Chime won the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland and finished second in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs in 2000 en route to being named Washington's horse of the year.