09/17/2007 11:00PM

Maiden turfers with potential

EmailLAS VEGAS - Belmont Park features three maiden turf races on Thursday that are a pedigree handicapper's delight.

Race 2 is a 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-old fillies, and with the inaugural running of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Monmouth Park this year, all grass races for juveniles take on added significance.

Zayat Stable's $1.6 million yearling Mushka, who is from the first crop of Empire Maker out of the Seeking the Gold mare Sluice, a daughter of stakes winner Lakeway, makes her debut in this race. Trained by Bill Mott, Mushka is a no-brainer to use in all exotics.

But another filly by Empire Maker may steal the show. First-time starter Country Star, who is out of Ashland Stakes winner Rings a Chime, is a highly regarded prospect from Bobby Frankel.

Battle of Britain, from the first crop of Sky Mesa, is another newcomer who deserves respect. Although Sky Mesa never tried grass, I named him a hidden turf (HT) sire because of all the grass influences in his pedigree, which include Pulpit, Storm Cat, and Affirmed.

John Kimmel unveils Emotional, who is by the exciting E Dubai, a son of Mr. Prospector who is fast becoming a rising star. Adding intrigue to her pedigree is her dam, Kisses for My Gal, who is a half-sister to Houston. Her second dam, Smart Angle, was the 1979 champion 2-year-old filly.

* Race 6 is for New York-bred juveniles going six furlongs and features many runners from freshmen sires.

Upper Level and Happening are from the first crop of the very quick stakes-winning sprinter Hook and Ladder, a son of Dixieland Band who is passing his brilliance to his offspring, such as I Promise, who was second in this year's Schuylerville Stakes. I expect Hook and Ladder's runners to be as effective on turf as they are on dirt.

Tulipmania appears to be the stronger half of a Thomas Bush entry. By freshman sire Empire Maker, she inherits a great deal of turf from her damsire, Lear Fan (Roberto), and her dam, Eventail, who won the New York Oaks and is a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Take Charge Lady.

Get Wiser makes her career debut and is from the first crop of speed influence Wiseman's Ferry, a son of Hennessy, another HT sire. In addition, Get Wiser is out of a mare by Compliance (the sire of New York favorites Fourstarfave and Fourstars Allstar).

Linda Rice, who had a tremendous Saratoga with horses sprinting on turf, trains first-time starter Sextant, who is by one of last year's top freshmen sires, champion sprinter Orientate (sire of Alabama Stakes winner Lady Joanne).

My Lovely Lark has an outstanding pedigree for grass and could be the sleeper in here. By the underrated Outflanker (Danzig), she is a half-sister to Influent, a multiple graded stakes winner on turf.

All the Rightnotes finished far back in her only race, a sprint over a muddy track, and could show a dramatic form reversal on turf as a daughter of top European sprinter Stravinsky (Nureyev).

To Kil For makes her debut and is by Stormy Atlantic, a proven sire who gets winners on all surfaces.

* Race 7 is for 3-year-olds going 1o1/16 miles.

Wild Wizard showed little in his first two starts on dirt, but this son of Red Bullet woke up when switched to grass, running second and then fifth, beaten less than one length, in his last effort. A son of Unbridled, Red Bullet gets a strong amount of turf breeding from his damsire, Caro, as well as from most of the males in his dam's pedigree. Wild Wizard gets more grass breeding from his damsire, Dynaformer.

Frankel has a coupled entry of Borobudur and Good Request, both of whom have potent turf pedigrees. Borobudur, a half-brother to champion sprinter/miler Aldebaran, by Kingmambo, was a modest racehorse in Europe, and the Kentucky-bred was repatriated and got Lasix for his U.S. debut on July 25 at Saratoga, where he rallied to finish fourth, beaten 3 1/2 lengths off a 10-month layoff. His stablemate, Good Request, makes his debut and has a T2 (turf from his sire and damsire) pedigree, being by Dynaformer out of a Lyphard mare.

Peace Mon, who has two seconds and a third in four career starts, all on grass, is a son of the late Maria's Mon, a powerful HT sire. Maria's Mon was a champion at 2 and was best known for his success on dirt, but he was by grass star Wavering Monarch (a son of grass influence Majestic Light) and out of a mare by Caro. Among Maria's Mon's most prominent turf performers is champion Wait a While. Peace Mon gets more turf from his damsire, Pirate's Bounty, a son of renowned turf influence Hoist the Flag.

Other well-bred colts make this an interesting affair.

Hostile Takeover, a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Honor in War, makes his second grass start for Richard Violette off an eight-month layoff. He is also a half-brother to a Dynaformer colt who was sold for $700,000 - the second-highest-priced yearling last Thursday at the September Keeneland sale. By Dixie Union and out of a Diesis mare who comes from the family that produced Europe's greatest filly, Allez France, as well as champion Affectionately and Broodmare of the Year Glowing Tribute, Hostile Takeover has plenty of upside.

Finally, there is On Fire. Like many runners by Pulpit, the Phipps homebred has been slow to come around and has a pedigree to develop into any kind. In addition to being by grass influence Pulpit, On Fire is out of a Storm Cat mare who is a half-sister to champion Inside Information and Grade 1 winner Educated Risk.