08/12/2003 11:00PM

Second of June wows 'em in debut


MIAMI - French Village and Sir Oscar kept their records unblemished with surprisingly easy victories in Saturday's $75,000 Desert Vixen and Dr. Fager divisions of the Florida Stallion Stakes. But it was another 2-year-old, Second of June, who may have made the most lasting impression of the day when he overcame an eventful trip to capture his career debut for trainer Bill Cesare.

Second of June, a son of Louis Quatorze, launched his career at the tricky distance of seven furlongs and appeared doomed from the outset after leaving the gate several lengths last against a full field of 12 maiden special weight runners. The outlook got even bleaker when he rushed to contention then had to steady in traffic midway down the backstretch.

Second of June, still in midpack, swung well wide entering the stretch. Once clear of traffic and the dirt in his face, he leveled off and ran down the more experienced Fantastic Wager in the final strides.

"I knew this horse had a lot of ability all along," said Cesare, who trains the colt for his mother, Barbara Cesare. "I also think he really wants to go two turns but I didn't want to start him out at a mile, so I thought seven furlongs would be a good place to begin."

Despite all the trouble he encountered, Second of June received a respectable 74 Beyer Speed Figure. Cesare said that he is considering selling the horse.

"I'd really like to sell this horse to somebody who will let me keep him in the barn," he said. "There's [an overnight] stakes race going a mile here on the 28th I might take a look at."

Second of June's performance was the second sensational effort by a Cesare-trained juvenile here this summer. Seven weeks earlier, Cesare sent out Brokenhearted Cat, who won her debut by 3 1/2 lengths in 52.40 seconds, easily the fastest 4 1/2-furlong clocking posted here this summer. Unfortunately the filly injured herself in the race and will be sidelined indefinitely.

And Teator makes three

The number of Eclipse Award winners in the local jockey colony grew to three this week with the arrival of Phil Teator from New York. Teator, who won an Eclipse as the nation's premier apprentice rider in 1997, joined Rosemary Homeister Jr. (1992) and Ariel Smith (1999), who also won their Eclipse Awards in the same category.

Teator, a 25-year-old Saratoga, N.Y., native, began his career working for trainer Bill Mott, who gave the jockey a leg up on his first five winners.

"I can't say enough about Bill," said Teator after guiding Herecomesacat to a third-place finish in Tuesday's Princess Mora Stakes. "He gave my career the jump start it needed."

Teator also spent a couple of years riding on the Maryland circuit, where in the spring of 2002 he rode Magic Weisner, who went on to run second in the Preakness. He returned to New York last winter before deciding to head south earlier this month.

"It just gets too tough in New York this time of year trying to go up against guys like Bailey, Prado, and Velazquez on a daily basis," said Teator. "I thought Calder would be a good place to come to try and get my career started again. I've only been here a week and have already gotten a good response from the horsemen, and I think by next meet I should really be able to get rolling. If all goes well I plan to stay down here year round."

Teator's agent is Henry Cambon.

Crafty Brat in tough

Crafty Brat will be favored to defeat six other 3-year-old fillies in Friday's $40,000 Valid Linda Stakes. Crafty Brat had a three-race win streak snapped when she finished third in the Grade 3 Azalea Breeders' Cup Stakes.

The Valid Linda drew a strong field that includes the stakes-placed fillies Lavender Lass and Running Debate, the suddenly rejuvenated Heavenly Miss, the speedy but lightly raced Will I Do, along with Never Fail and Secret Request.

Conspicuous by her absence from the Valid Linda is Azalea Breeders' Cup runner-up and Crafty Brat's arch-rival Storm Flag.

"She's got her usual foot problems and is not ready to come back just yet," said Storm Flag's trainer, Richard Root.