06/24/2010 11:00PM

Salty Strike has right credentials


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - What else could she have going for her? Salty Strike exits a key maiden race. She has the best Beyer Speed Figure in the field. She's by one of the world's premier sires, Smart Strike. And she'll have Calvin Borel aboard when she breaks from the rail in the Grade 3, $100,000 Debutante Stakes on Saturday at Churchill Downs.

"Everything's been real easy with her so far," said Ken McPeek, who trains Salty Strike for owner and breeder Craig Singer.

Accordingly, Salty Strike figures to be a heavy favorite when she faces six other 2-year-old fillies in the 110th Debutante, a six-furlong race that marks the stakes debut for the entire field.

"She's done everything right from the beginning," McPeek said. "I'd actually like to run her a little longer, but, obviously, those races aren't available yet. We'll just watch her Saturday and go from there."

Robby Albarado rode Salty Strike to a 4 1/4-length victory in her debut May 14, when she earned a 78 Beyer. The second- and third-place finishers in that race, Blue Orleans and Le Mi Geaux, came back to win.

For the Debutante, Albarado has stuck with Just Louise, also a drawing-off winner in her lone start. A 3 1/4-length winner here May 28, Just Louise is a half-sister to the multiple graded winner Sara Louise, who trainer Dale Romans has called the best filly he has ever trained. Sara Louise, now 4, defeated Rachel Alexandra here in the fall of 2008 in the Pocahontas Stakes.

Just Louise got post 6 as the likely second choice.

The Debutante also includes Tater Taunter and the uncoupled William Dorminy pair of Bach Hamilton and Internet Cafe, all of them winners at this meet. Two shippers, Tristanme from Woodbine and Big Sweets from Prairie Meadows, round out the lineup.

Borel, Albarado, and Shaun Bridgmohan will be among the horsemen boarding a charter flight after the races to go to Prairie Meadows in Iowa for stakes there.

The Debutante is the 10th of 11 races on a good Saturday card, which has larger fields than this meet has typically had. A couple of filly-mare turf allowances (races 6 and 9) are on the undercard. First post is 12:45 p.m. Eastern.