10/12/2009 11:00PM

New import can emerge on his own


ARCADIA, Calif. - There was no glamour to the 2-year-old campaign of Sea of Marmara in Europe last year.

He was the rabbit for Mastercraftsman in major stakes, setting the pace and fading after his showcase stablemate took over. Such a job makes for an ugly career record, which trainer Patrick Biancone is hoping to reverse this fall and winter.


Sea of Marmara joined Biancone's stable earlier this year and will make his American debut in an optional claimer over 6 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita on Wednesday.

Owned by Fab Oak Stable and Kona Stable, Sea of Marmara has 1 victory in 7 starts, the win coming in a maiden race in Ireland in June 2008. He followed with five appearances in group stakes in Ireland and France, with his best result a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Phoenix Stakes in July 2008.

The Phoenix Stakes was a typical day out for Sea of Marmara - he led to the final furlong and weakened, losing by 8 1/2 lengths. Mastercraftsman won that race, the second of his six career stakes wins. Mastercraftsman is a candidate for the Breeders' Cup Classic here on Nov. 7.

For Wednesday's race, which drew a field of seven, Biancone is reluctant to predict victory, but Sea of Marmara does have a few workouts that suggest he retains his speed. Biancone said Sea of Marmara has been gelded since his last start, when he was seventh in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere in France last October.

"He's going to need the race," Biancone said. "He'll improve after the race. We're started from scratch. I like him. It's taken a long time to turn him around."

Sea of Marmara will face a strong test in his U.S. debut. Monolingual, the sharp winner of a maiden race at Del Mar on Sept. 7, will be making his first start against winners. Trained by John Sadler, Monolingual has worked well since his win, including five furlongs in 58.80 seconds last Friday.

Coronet of a Baron, second by a nose in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity in 2008, will attempt to end a five-race losing streak. Trained by Eoin Harty, Coronet of a Baron finished fifth in two starts at Del Mar, a six-furlong allowance race and an optional claimer over a mile on turf.

Coronet of a Baron was favored in both starts, but bettors are likely to prefer Monolingual in Wednesday's race.