04/30/2009 11:00PM

Mullins Beach tries to stretch speed

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Mullins Beach will try to extend her speed to seven furlongs Sunday at Woodbine against seven other Ontario-bred 3-year-old fillies in the $150,000 Fury Stakes.

Mullins Beach was victorious in half of her four 2-year-old appearances, including a six-furlong allowance on the Polytrack. She won her maiden on the grass, but could only manage seventh in her first start of the year on that surface, in the 5 1/2-furlong Mardi Gras Stakes at Fair Grounds.

Trainer Malcolm Pierce felt a tardy start led to Mullins Beach's downfall in the Mardi Gras.

"She broke terrible," he said.

Mullins Beach made amends here on opening day in the La Voyageuse Stakes. She broke on top and proceeded to lead throughout that five-furlong dash, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 79. Pierce said he was impressed by her performance that day.

"It surprised me a little bit, but she'd been working very well," he said.

Pierce said he has reservations regarding Mullins Beach's ability to handle the Fury distance, even though her maiden win came over seven furlongs.

"On the Polytrack, I think it's stretching her distance limitations," Pierce explained. "I hope I'm wrong, but I think of her as a sprinter and a turf horse. I think that she's going to do her best running on the turf."

Pierce said he isn't considering the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks with Mullins Beach, but trainer Reade Baker is hoping to use the Fury as High Mist's final prep for that nine-furlong fixture June 7.

High Mist used her speed to win her first two starts at 2, but she came from a stalking position to take the six-furlong Fanfreluche Stakes in October. She went to the sidelines after finishing far back in the 1 1/16-mile Princess Elizabeth Stakes on Nov. 1.

High Mist was favored in La Voyageuse, in which she wound up third after saving ground in a tightly bunched pack of horses.

"She was a little intimidated," Baker said. "She'd never been on the inside before, and I think it affected her performance. We worked her back on the inside, and I think she's over that now."

Not Just a Rumor won her debut with ease after mounting a wide bid April 10. For covering five furlongs in 57.20 seconds, she was awarded an 80 Beyer Speed Figure.