11/13/2009 12:00AM

Juvenile matchups boast wealth of talent


MIAMI - Considering the splash Florida-bred 2-year-olds such as D' Funnybone and Jackson Bend have already made at the national level this season, there should be plenty of interest in Saturday's Florida Million card at Calder, which features four juvenile races restricted to horses foaled in the Sunshine State.

Mr. Green, who futilely chased but held his own against Jackson Bend and D' Funnybone last summer, will headline a well-matched eight-horse field in the $150,000 Jack Price Juvenile at seven furlongs. Mr. Green finished third, beaten two lengths by Jackson Bend and D' Funnybone, in the Frank Gomez Memorial before finishing a game second to Jackson Bend in the Dr. Fager and Affirmed divisions of the Florida Stallion Stakes. Mr. Green ducked those rivals in his next start and won an entry-level allowance before finishing second to longshot Lucas Brady in the Birdonthewire Stakes on Oct. 17.

Lucas Brady benefited from an outside strip that favored closers when he captured the Birdonthewire but was subsequently beaten as a 6-5 favorite under starter allowance conditions.

He and Mr. Green will be joined in the Jack Price by Gesu, Peace at Dawn, Manny Who, Hear Ye Hear Ye, What a Prince, and Good to Be Seen, a recent arrival for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Peace at Dawn could be the sleeper. A son of Peace Rules, he won his debut in mid-June before going to the sideline for four months. He returned in the Birdonthewire and finished third after starting slow and racing much of the way on the deep rail.

Sweetlalabye and Rosebud's Ridge, who between them accounted for all three legs of the filly division of the Florida Stallion Stakes, are among the eight 2-year-old fillies entered in the $150,000 Joe O'Farrell Juvenile at seven furlongs. Sweetlalabye won the six-furlong Desert Vixen and 1 1/16-mile My Dear Girl stakes but fell a neck short of sweeping the series when she was upset by Rosebud's Ridge in the seven-furlong Susan's Girl.

The Joe O'Farrell attracted several lightly raced but promising young fillies, including Miss Aristocrat and Carphonic, who are both undefeated. Winey Taylor, privately purchased by John Brunetti's Red Oak Stable before her most recent victory, and Rosebud's Ridge figure to assure a realistic pace. Brave Raj winner Joanie's Catch turns back in distance off a couple of improved two-turn outings and looms a formidable rival.

The Jack Price and Joe O'Farrell figure to be more predictable than the $100,000 Arthur Appleton Juvenile Turf or its filly counterpart, the $100,000 John Franks Juvenile Fillies Turf. Both turf races are scheduled to be run at 1 1/16 miles.

Although restricted to Florida-breds, the Appleton lured several imposing horses from up north. The most prominent shipper is Family Foundation, who has already won a pair of races on the turf and recently finished third in Keeneland's Grade 3 Bourbon for trainer Tom Proctor.

Trainer Bill Mott will counter with Show the Way J, who won his turf debut over the Belmont inner course and was a troubled fourth at Keeneland over yielding ground in his most recent start. Thunder Brew is in town for the winter after winning his maiden on the Meadowlands turf course five weeks ago.

The local contingent will be headed by Bim Bam, who mixed it up with Jackson Bend earlier this summer. Bim Bam was third in the Dr. Fager and Affirmed before winning the Foolish Pleasure in his two-turn debut. He led turning for home in the In Reality division of the Stallion Stakes before bogging down along a deep rail through the stretch, finishing a tiring third behind Jackson Bend. Bim Bam will be making his turf debut in the Appleton.

D'lucci Girl, Winsockie, and Dancing Rage are the only grass winners in the John Franks field. The well-travelled Suzanne looms a dangerous foe in her local debut.