01/14/2010 12:00AM

High hopes for Uptowncharlybrown

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Tom Cooley
Uptowncharlybrown will make his stakes debut Saturday following a nine-length romp in his debut on Dec. 26.

OLDSMAR, Fla. - Trainer Alan Seewald decided to spend the winter at Tampa Bay Downs because of one horse in his barn, an unstarted 3-year-old named Uptowncharlybrown.

A Limehouse colt, Uptowncharlybrown lived up to his trainer's confidence by dazzling the fans here Dec. 26 with a smashing nine-length maiden win. The race earned him a 77 Beyer Speed Figure, which is solid over this track and may make him the favorite in Saturday's $65,000 Pasco Stakes at seven furlongs. The card also includes the $65,000 Gasparilla Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Seewald, a longtime trainer on the New Jersey circuit, thinks Uptowncharlybrown might have the talent to be classic race material and decided to base Uptowncharlybrown at Tampa Bay Downs this winter.

"He's the main reason we decided to come to Tampa," Seewald explained by phone as he waited for a flight that would bring him to Tampa. "He showed us early he was a colt with a lot of talent and potential, and we wanted to have a place to develop his skills where we knew we wouldn't have weather problems and he would have a good surface to train over. We've got 15 head there, but there's little question Uptowncharlybrown's the main reason why we applied for stalls."

Several horses who have competed in Tampa's series for 3-year-olds in recent years performed well in Triple Crown races, including Street Sense, who won the 2007 Tampa Bay Derby and Kentucky Derby, and Musket Man, who won last year's Pasco Stakes and Tampa Bay Derby and then finished third in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

In his debut, Uptowncharlybrown raced just behind the leaders and then drew off through the stretch, covering the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.85. While it was an eye-catching debut, Seewald feels there's room for improvement.

"He's really going to be a two-turn horse and is still a little inexperienced," he said. "Fortunately, he bounced back strong after the race, which is something some horses don't do after they hang a big number first time out. He was raising cain at the barn yesterday, so he's ready to go."

A good performance Saturday could earn Uptowncharlybrown a start in the Grade 3, $225,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race on Feb. 13.

"Hopefully, he'll race well Saturday, then we'll look to the Sam Davis and the Tampa Bay Derby," Seewald said.

The Grade 3, $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby will be run at 1 1/16 miles on March 13.

Challengers to Uptowncharlybrown in the Pasco include Inaugural Stakes winner Gesu; Hellen's Choice, who fell a half-length short to Gesu in that race; and Silver Craft, who looked good whipping an allowance field going 6 1/2 furlongs in his local debut.

In the Gasparilla, Diva Delite, a Dave Vivian trainee who has won three of her last four starts, all at Calder, tops a well-matched field of eight.

Comic Marvel, a Juddmonte Farms runner, will make her first start for trainer Bill Mott. She won her debut at Belmont in October for the late Bobby Frankel. Also to be considered is Datt Echo, a Mark Hennig trainee who ran fourth in the Silent Turn Stakes at Aqueduct in her most recent outing.