03/26/2007 11:00PM

Queen Clytemnestra a late bloomer


SAN MATEO, Calif. - It took Queen Clytemnestra 12 tries to win her maiden.

Queen Clytemnestra, who ran third in the Solano County Juvenile Fillies Stakes in her second start, has always been talented as well as frustrating for trainer Jeff Bonde.

Her maiden victory came when she dropped into the claiming ranks for the first time, winning for a $32,000 tag in her last start on Feb. 25, and that win qualified her for Thursday's Bay Meadows feature, a one-mile $40,000 starter allowance race for 3-year-old fillies.

Fuego, making her first start since Jan. 4, figures to be the primary competition, with 1 win and 4 seconds in 6 starts, including a pair of runner-up efforts against similar company.

But Fuego has not met the same competition as Queen Clytemnestra, who raced against the likes of AV Flynn and Glorification before finally winning.

"I thought we had much more than we've had thus far," Bonde said of Queen Clytemnestra.

She's out of Petite n Powerful, who had some minor stakes placings while winning 13 of 56 starts and $168,320. She's a half-sister to Epic Power, who has won 10 of 46 starts, including last October's Cal Cup Mile, and has earned $411,372. He won his maiden for a $12,500 claiming tag.

"She's a late developer," Bonde said. "Epic Power's that same way. With the rest of the family, it's the same thing."

Winning can give horses confidence, but Bonde said he thinks for Queen Clytemnestra and her family time plays a bigger role.

He said Queen Clytemnestra has worked well since her victory, but that she was always a decent work horse.

"All of a sudden after the win, she's trained well and blew out like some stakes horses I've had," he said.

Queen Clytemnestra's last two starts came at a mile. She finished third against straight maidens before winning in wire-to-wire style last time.

Fuego also has early speed, and the recent Santa Anita maiden winner Swinger Doll has flashed some speed.

A pace duel could help Judy's Way, who finished strong on the turf last time, turning in the best race of her career. A duel could also help stalker types Look to the Sky, Sassy Dot, and Freelovin Fran.

But the possible upside for Queen Clytemnestra could make her the most attractive runner in the race.