03/16/2007 11:00PM

Rolling Sea wins No. 3


Rolling Sea was purchased privately last summer at Arlington, a decent prospect for Illinois-bred stakes races. Rolling Sea did win an Illinois-bred stakes in her first start for trainer Steve Asmussen and owner Ro Parra, but who knew she would blast through the Fair Grounds meet this winter, easily beating open company race after race?

Rolling Sea won her third straight start in dominant fashion, taking the $75,000 Fortin Handicap by some 10 lengths over her stablemate, Morlana. Rolling Sea toted just 116 pounds in the handicap, and paid just $2.60 to win - strong suggestions that the competition Saturday was not strong. In fact, as sharp as Rolling Sea has been, she has fallen into startlingly winnable races, and the one-mile Fortin was no exception.

A third Asmussen horse, Wild as Elle, sprinted to the early lead, and with the race's other pace factor, Stormy Destin, a scratch, Wild as Elle was clear through an opening quarter-mile in 23.86 seconds. But jockey Joe Talamo let Rolling Sea stay close to the front, and after a half-mile in a quick 46.66, Rolling Sea wasn't more than a length away from the lead. And by the top of the stretch, she was gone. Talamo spent far more energy looking over his right shoulder than encouraging Rolling Sea in the final furlong, and she finished a mile on a fast track in 1:38.42. Show wagering was canceled on the five-horse race.