10/23/2008 11:00PM

Maram stays perfect in Juvenile Fillies Turf


ARCADIA, Calif. - Well, of course. It only figures that a first-time Breeders' Cup trainer, first-time BC jockey, and first-time BC owner would take the first edition of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Oh, and the horse. That would be Maram, a daughter of the little-known sire Sahm, who debuted for a $75,000 claiming price at the Saratoga meet this summer and won a $1,035,080 race by a desperate nose on the Ladies' Day card here at Santa Anita.

Maram and jockey Jose Lezcano held off onrushing Heart Shaped and Johnny Murtgah by the slimmest of margins to win the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf for trainer Chad Brown. Brown, a Bobby Frankel assistant for five years, only became a head trainer one year ago, after Ginger Punch won the BC Distaff for Frankel. Maram's owners, Karen Woods and Saud bin Khaled, also were starting a Breeders' Cup horse for the first time.

Brown started off as a hotwalker for trainer Shug McGaughey, worked his way up to assistant trainer, and his 28th career win came in a Breeders' Cup race.

"I thought she matched up with some of the best young fillies Bobby had, and I trained her that way," said Brown, 29, whose professional fortunes were couple with personal loss this week, when his grandfather died in upstate New York.

Brown said he started off Maram (wish, or destiny in Arabic) in a $75,000 maiden-claimer in an effort to place his horses in realistic spots.

"It's Saratoga, there aren't that many races for 2-year-old turf fillies, and I want to win and get started," Brown said. "So, I'm putting horses where they can win."

Maram has not lost yet. She scored a clear victory in that maiden-claiming debut, then captured the Oct. 1 Miss Grillo at Belmont by a neck. Lezcano picked up the mount in the Miss Grillo, and Brown kept him on for the Juvenile Fillies Turf - partners in their BC maiden voyage.

Maram raced in midpack as Laragh, the favorite, set a really fast early pace in the one-mile race, 22.53 seconds for her opening quarter-mile, and 45.82 to the half.

"She was a little keen today," said Edgar Prado, Laragh's rider. "She was eager the first part of it."

Maram headed the second flight of horses into the first turn, then raced between horses in seventh place down the backstretch. Lezcano let her move up going into the far turn, and Maram, coming three wide, had a full head of steam into the stretch. Laragh's clear lead turning for home soon evaporated, as she was tackled inside the sixteenth pole by Maram, and then Heart Shaped, who came from third-last under Murtagh, following Maram's move into the stretch and rallying outside her. The Aidan O'Brien-trained Heart Shaped hit the wire with the winner, but Murtagh said afterward he knew his filly had been nipped.

"One more bounce, and she gets there," Murtagh said.

Laragh faded but held on for third, while second-choice Consequence had some stretch trouble and never was a factor. Maram paid $24.20 to win, and was timed in 1:35.15 on very firm turf.