08/11/2008 11:00PM

Ladyledue provides a thrill


AUBURN, Wash. - There are few things more exciting for an owner or a trainer than to have a 2-year-old win first time out. That goes double if the debut win comes in a stakes, and the excitement goes off the charts if the margin of victory threatens to go into double-digit lengths and the time is a stakes record.

No wonder owner Jon Sather and trainer Bonnie Jenne were in a mood to celebrate after Saturday's Knights Choice Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. Their debuting Ladyledue demolished five overmatched rivals by eight lengths in a stakes-record 1:16.80 for 6 1/2 furlongs under Ricky Frazier, who was also rather jazzed-up.

"I got on her for the first time on Friday, and she just reeked of class," said the rider. "She is so professional, and that came out when the running started. As soon as I asked her, she just came away from them."

Sather purchased Ladyledue, a daughter of Slewdledo and Exploded's Girl - and thus a full sister to multiple stakes winner I'madrifter - for $15,500 at last summer's WTBA yearling sale. It was the first horse he had ever purchased at auction.

"I went to the sale with Bonnie and Wally Jenne, and they conned me into buying one," claimed the owner.

Bonnie Jenne had a different recollection.

"Wally and Jon fell in love with this filly's eyes, and Jon just had to have her," she said. "Jon was still bidding after everybody else had stopped. I said you already own her, Jon, quit bidding."

Jenne said she was always high on Ladyledue, but that didn't seem to prepare her for Saturday's performance.

"She gave me goose bumps," said the trainer. "I thought she had a lot of ability and I felt I had her fit enough, but it still seemed like a bold move to start her out in a stakes. It was scary for me, but I'm just thrilled with the way she ran. Now I guess we can all dream a little. She really should go on, too. I'madrifter was at his best going long. At this point, it seems like the sky is the limit."

Enumerator makes amends

Enumerator gave a more workmanlike performance in winning Sunday's Strong Ruler Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths in 1:18.20 for the same 6 1/2 furlongs, but he redeemed himself for his disappointing sixth-place finish as the 2-1 favorite in last month's six furlong Premio Esmeralda Stakes.

In the Premio Esmeralda, Enumerator broke from the rail post and seemed to be intimidated by the horses to his outside, especially after brushing the rail on the turn. He drew the inside post again on Sunday, but trainer Doris Harwood had made a key equipment change.

"I took off his blinkers, and that seemed to make a big difference," said the trainer. "We were hoping to get a length or two clear and avoid pressure altogether, but it turned out that he had two other horses to his outside. He ran much braver, though, because he could see where the pressure was coming from. We'll never run him in blinkers again."

Enumerator, a homebred son of He's Tops who races for Herman Sarkowsky, has now won 2 of 3 starts. His score in the Strong Ruler was Harwood's 10th 2-year-old win at the meeting, which is remarkable when you consider there have been only 45 races for juveniles run through the first 63 days of this 91-day stand.

"Developing 2-year-olds is what I love to do," said the trainer. "It's my passion. All the work and the lessons and the patience that goes into developing the 2-year-olds is rewarded when you see them go out there and win. It's very gratifying."

Last year Harwood developed Smarty Deb, who won three local stakes en route to a fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. This year her best 2-year-old appears to be the undefeated filly Super Dixie, who took command of her division with an authoritative win in last week's Angie C. Stakes.

Super Dixie obviously has a formidable new challenger in Ladyledue, however, and the two are scheduled to meet in the one-mile, $75,000 Barbara Shinpoch Stakes on Aug. 31. Bonnie Jenne laid down the challenge after the Knights Choice, saying Ladyledue will take aim at Super Dixie and juvenile filly honors at the meeting. Harwood welcomed the competition.

"Bring 'em on," she said. "That's what makes racing fun. We'll see who's best."

Mulcahy getting in gear

Mulcahy, who was last season's 3-year-old colt or gelding champion at Emerald after running off three straight stakes wins, worked for the first time this year on Monday. Under regular rider Jennifer Whitaker, Mulcahy breezed three furlongs in a bullet 35.60 seconds.

Mulcahy injured a suspensory ligament while finishing third, beaten three-quarters of a length by the older Putmeinyourwill, in last November's Seabiscut Handicap over the Bay Meadows turf course. Trainer Howard Belvoir said Mulcahy has made a good recovery and might race once at this meeting.

"I'm trying to get him ready to run on Washington Cup Day, but we'll see how it goes," said Belvoir. "That's only a month away, so it will be touch-and-go."

Mulcahy, a Washington-bred son of Tribunal, could race in either the $50,000 Chinook Pass Sprint at six furlongs or the $50,000 Muckleshoot Classic at 1 1/16 miles on Washington Cup Day, Sept. 14.