12/31/2010 3:08PM

So far, Thirtyfirststreet has fulfilled first impressions he might be special


ARCADIA, Calif. – The phone calls began more than a year ago and were the sort of thing that breeder Mark Gorman wanted to hear. It turns out his yearling colt Thirtyfirststreet was a big of a paddock rabble-rouser at Magali Farms in Santa Ynez, Calif.

“They told me that when he was in the herd he was always getting in fights,” Mark Gorman recalled on Thursday. “He was trying to show he was The Man.”

Gorman took the news as a positive sign of Thirtyfirststreet’s determination. The racing world saw what all the fuss is about when Thirtyfirststreet charged to the front in the final furlong to win the $100,000 California Breeders’ Champion Stakes for statebred 2-year-olds at Santa Anita on Dec. 26.

The victory was the first of two stakes wins in as many days for trainer Doug O’Neill, a co-breeder with Gorman on Thirtyfirststreet. Monday, the O-Neill-trained California Nectar, owned by breeder Pablo Suarez, won the fillies division of the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes. O’Neill also trained the dam of both stakes winners.

Thirtyfirststreet, a colt by Good Journey, has won 2 of 3 starts and $90,400. The win in the seven-furlong California Breeders’ Champion Stakes has led to discussions about a start in the $250,000 Robert Lewis Stakes over 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 12, which would be the colt’s graded stakes debut.

For the 63-year-old Gorman, who is retired from a swimming pool construction business, such a race would have seemed like a lofty goal until he saw Thirtyfirststreet for himself after he was born.

“He just looked the part,” he said. “You can’t explain it. He was an impressive-looking animal. He’s been kind of special since he was born. All that went along with the high hopes.

“When he started to train, he was so strong, a man among boys. When he breezes, he gallops out so strongly.”

Thirtyfirststreet is out of Avian, who was trained by O’Neill during much of her career. The winner of 6 of 27 starts and $127,960 from 1999 to 2004, she ran in mid-priced claimers at the end of her career. Avian has a full brother or sister to Thirtyfirststreet that she is expected to foal in coming months. She is likely to be bred back to the stallion this year, Gorman said.

California Nectar won her first stakes in the fillies division on Monday, drawing off in early stretch to win by 1 1/2 lengths.

“You want to finish 1, 2, 3, but what a thrill to win,” Suarez said. “I was surprised to see her run that well.”

The filly had been second, by a nose, in the California Cup Juvenile at Hollywood Park in October, and was fourth a month later in the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes in her first start on turf. Suarez said the turf race was a trial to hold over to the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes.

California Nectar is by Stormy Atlantic and is out of Absolute Nectar, who won 3 of 13 starts and $98,636 for Suarez and his wife, Michelle. Absolute Nectar was trained by Doug O’Neill and placed in two minor stakes at Monmouth Park in 2004.

O’Neill and Pablo Suarez are considering the $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over seven furlongs on Jan. 15 for California Nectar. The California Breeders’ Champion Stakes was her main track debut, and left Suarez anxious for the rest of the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting.

“She took to the dirt, and that exciting,” Suarez said. “Hopefully, she can move forward.”