02/14/2008 12:00AM

Sea of Pleasure born to sprint


SAN MATEO, Calif. – Although Sea of Pleasure is nominated to the Triple Crown, trainer Gary Stute says his speedy colt is not really a candidate to go on the Derby trail.

“We’ve kinda changed our goals to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint,” he said, laughing.

Whatever the long-range future holds, Sea of Pleasure will be the headliner Saturday at Bay Meadows when six 3-year-olds compete in the $55,000 Sophomore Sprint at six furlongs.

The field includes multiple stakes winner Run Brother Ron, who captured the Everett Nevin Alameda County Futurity at Pleasanton and the Beau Brummel at Fairplex; Topper Shopper, who won the I’m Smokin for California-breds at Del Mar; Nevada Worrier, winner of the Cavonnier at Santa Anita; and Vadheim, whose lone victory came in the Harvest Futurity at Fresno. Moonlight Master rounds out the field.

Sea of Pleasure won his debut by four lengths March 29 in a two-furlong race at Santa Anita, setting a track record of 20.78. The field included the next-out winner Wise Mandate.

After going to the sidelines with shin problems, he returned to the races on Dec. 7, winning a six-furlong $80,000 optional claimer at Hollywood Park while earning a 95 Beyer. He was then second as the favorite in the Jan. 20 San Pedro at Santa Anita, fading late in the 6?1/2-furlong event.

“He didn’t relax during the San Pedro, so we’ve decided to keep him at three-quarters for now,” Stute said. “We think he’s a really good sprinter. We kept trying to get him to go a little farther because going three-quarters there’s not that much money.”

Stute said he’s expecting a strong performance from Sea of Pleasure.

Sea of Pleasure’s two 95 Beyers tower over the numbers of all his rivals except Nevada Worrier, who got a 92 while chasing Bob Black Jack in the Sunshine Millions Dash at Santa Anita on Jan. 26. Bob Black Jack set a world record for six furlongs of 1:06.53 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 109 in that race.

Nevada Worrier ran twice at Bay Meadows last spring, finishing third and in a dead heat for second in a pair of two-furlong races. He was fourth behind Run Brother Ron in the Everett Nevin at Pleasanton before graduating at Del Mar.