10/23/2006 12:00AM

Shaggy Mane makes it official: Great claim


You could call Shaggy Mane's rise from claimer to stakes winner a Cinderella story.

Since being claimed for $12,500 at Santa Rosa on Aug. 3, she won two straight allowance races, then knocked off northern California sprint queen Vaca City Flyer in the William P. Kyne Breeders' Cup Express at Bay Meadows on Saturday.

Trainer Lloyd Mason said Shaggy Mane was reputedly something of a head case before he claimed her, when she was racing in Southern California. She was sent north and won a bottom-level maiden claimer for $8,000 on July 4 at Pleasanton.

Her present owner, Jim Kwong, tried to claim her out of that race, but a mistake on the claiming slip voided the claim. Kwong got a second chance at Santa Rosa, and Mason grabbed her for him.

"We were lucky," Mason said. "There were no other claims in for her either time."

Kwong said one reason he claimed Shaggy Mane was because he liked her breeding. She is by Bertrando out of the Bel Bolide mare Witchy, who earned $170,277 and produced Shaggy Mane's full sister, the stakes-placed Resident Alien. Kwong, who has two other horses in training and one being prepared for racing at a farm, figured he was at least getting a broodmare prospect.

Shaggy Mane won each of her three starts before the Kyne by eight lengths. In the Kyne, she grabbed the early lead under Luis Martinez and won by 2 1/4 lengths, with plenty left.

Vaca City Flyer seemed to have Shaggy Mane measured in the stretch, said her rider, Chad Schvaneveldt.

"Around the turn, when I goosed her, she responded, and I thought I had it," Schvaneveldt said. "[Martinez] goosed his filly, and she responded, too. I thought we were in good position. Maybe the other horse was just better today."

Martinez said he and Shaggy Mane were never in danger.

"When they broke, I just let her go, and when she made the lead, she relaxed," he said. "Down the stretch, I asked her when I saw that other horse coming. I was worried about Vaca City Flyer, but I had confidence in my filly, because her last work was very strong."

Vaca City Flyer is a Cinderella story herself. An $8,000 claim, she came into the Kyne with four straight stakes victories.

Both runners came out of Saturday's race fine.

Mason said a long-range plan would be for Shaggy Mane to run in the Sunshine Millions in January. Trainer Steve Sherman said the $100,000 California Distaff Turf Championship, a one-mile turf race here Dec. 9, might be the next race for Vaca City Flyer.

"We'd like to get her back on the turf, and that is a race for Cal-breds," he said.

Only three definite for turf stakes

Racing secretary Tom Doutrich spent the early part of the week hustling the 14 nominees for Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Over the weekend, the Bay Meadows BC had only three confirmed entrants: Argentine Grade 1 winner Don Incauto, who will be looking for his first U.S. victory; Longacres Mile winner Flamethrowintexan, who will be making his turf debut; and multiple turf stakes winner Now Victory.

Place Cowboy, Grafton, and Fantastic Spain are possible. Boboman, Capitano, and That's an Outrage remained on the fence before Wednesday's draw.

Trainer Kay Cooper had a chance to work Flamethrowintexan on the turf Saturday. A 5-year-old gelding, Flamethrowintexan worked five furlongs around the dogs in 1:01.80 under jockey Ricky Frazier, running his final furlong in 12.20 seconds.

"It was very important to get out there," she said. "We didn't know if he'd handle it or not. Ricky Frazier assured me he liked it."

Three possibilities for Smokey Stover

Trainer Greg Gilchrist said he is looking at three spots for Smokey Stover's next race: a sprint here or at Hollywood Park on Nov. 1, both against older, or the $40,000 Saguaro Stakes for 3-year-olds at six furlongs on Nov. 4 at Turf Paradise. The race would be a prep for the Grade 1 Malibu at seven furlongs on Dec. 26 at Santa Anita.

Gilchrist said Vicarino, the 2-year-old who set a Fresno track record in his last start, will be pointed to the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue at seven furlongs on Nov. 18.