06/23/2011 1:43PM

Monmouth Park: Artisanal steps up to graded company in Boiling Springs Stakes


OCEANPORT, N.J. – Artisanal puts a three-race winning streak on the line in her first graded test Saturday, the Grade 3, $150,000 Boiling Springs Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on the turf at Monmouth Park.

Since debuting last July at Saratoga, Artisanal has shown steady improvement in every grass start, advancing from a 52 Beyer Speed Figure in that first race to an 83 for her win in the Little Silver Stakes, the Boiling Springs prep, on May 29.

Now comes the sternest challenge, at 1 1/16 miles against nine competitors in search of a coveted graded stakes victory.

Artisanal has given every indication she can handle the assignment, especially following a very professional win in the Little Silver.

With Chris DeCarlo aboard, Artisanal enjoyed a ground-saving trip. The trip almost turned into a trap as she was bottled up on the fence rounding the final turn. When an opening finally developed in midstretch, Artisanal surged through for her first stakes victory.

MONMOUTH PARK: Live video for every race day of the 2011 meet »

Artisanal, who shipped in from Todd Pletcher’s Kentucky division for the Little Silver, remained at Monmouth to prepare for the Boiling Springs.

“She has been training well, doing good,” assistant trainer Anthony Sciametta said. “She ran a good race last time. When she finally got clear, she came running. Things seem to be going in the right direction. She hasn’t missed a beat since that race.”

DeCarlo has the return call from the outside post.

The Boiling Springs takes on an international flavor with two fillies, Pontenuovo and Janicellaine, making their U.S. debuts.

Pontenuovo raced four times in France at 2 and once in England this spring, before joining Patrick Biancone’s stable at Monmouth in early May.

Biancone is impressed by her European efforts, both in terms of performance – 1-1-1 in 5 starts – and level of competition as she ran four times against the boys, including a third-place finish in a Group 1 stakes at Deauville last August.

“I think she’s a very good filly,” Biancone said. “This will be her first time here, but she should run a good race. Maybe not the first time, but she will be a big asset to our barn in the future.”

Joe Bravo will be aboard.

Janicellaine ran twice in England, with a win and a near miss before transferring to trainer Roger Attfield.

Edgar Prado gets the mount.

Other prominent runners include Salary Drive, runner-up to Artisanal in the Little Silver; the very tough New York-bred Hessonite; and Summer Soiree, who makes her grass debut after running 10th in the Kentucky Oaks.

My Sunshine Gal, War Prospector, Oak Marsh, and Annabel Lee complete the field. Coco Ecolo and R Gypsy Gold were entered for the main track only.

Lighthouse: ‘Debonair’ ready to run

Debonair Darling has hit the board in all 10 career starts at Monmouth. Unfortunately, only two of those races have produced wins.

She gets another chance to improve that mark in the supporting feature, the $75,000 Lighthouse Stakes for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles.

Debonair Darling puts her Monmouth record of 2-6-2 on the line against six rivals. She has run second in her last four races, all at Monmouth. That stretch includes runner-up finishes in the Politely and Honey Bee Stakes and in her season debut June 4.

“A bunch of horses that beat her are stakes winners,” trainer Greg Sacco said. “She was in dire need of that last race, coming off a long layoff. We had her ready to run, but not cranked. She’s had two very good works in between. There are no excuses now.”

DeCarlo will ride from the outside post.