12/01/2006 12:00AM

Splendid Blended gets class relief


MIAMI - After taking on graded stakes company for most of her career, Splendid Blended will get some much-appreciated class relief when she takes on five rivals in Sunday's $45,000 Marina de Chavon Stakes at Calder.

The Marina de Chavon will share top billing on Sunday's card with the $60,000 GTOBA Debutante Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for 2-year-old fillies who are progeny of stallions nominated to the Georgia Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association program.

Since capturing the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet in her 2-year-old finale in December 2004, Splendid Blended has ventured out of graded stakes company just once, posting an easy four-length victory in Philadelphia Park's Steve Van Buren Handicap on Sept. 5. A two-time Grade 1 winner, Splendid Blended captured the Grade 2 Shirley Jones Breeders' Cup Handicap at Gulfstream Park earlier this season and enters the 6 1/2-furlong Marina de Chavon off a troubled sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 First Flight at Aqueduct.

The graded-stakes-placed Toll Taker looks like Splendid Blended's chief threat. The versatile filly will turn back to a sprint off a game nose decision in the 1 1/16-mile Honey Bee Stakes on Nov. 4.

The GTOBA Debutante drew a full field of 12 led by Dantrelle Light, who won the GTOBA Juvenile Fillies Turf going five furlongs in July. Sophisticatedevent, runner-up in the GTOBA Juvenile Fillies, and recent turf maiden winners Snow Cone and Go Native top the competition.

Dantrelle Light has been back to the grass just once since capturing the GTOBA Juvenile Fillies Turf, finishing a game second behind odds-on favorite Pay Wright in the John Franks Juvenile Fillies Turf on Nov. 11.

Sophisticatedevent is coming off a third place finish in the Joe O'Farrell Juvenile Fillies going seven furlongs on the main track, but finished far back in her only start around two turns.

Velasquez suspended for 15 days

Jockey Cornelio Velasquez, who recently moved his tack back to Calder following the conclusion of the Churchill Downs meeting, was handed a suspension of 15 racing days for careless riding that resulted in a two-horse spill in Thursday's third race.

Velasquez was aboard Flash of Silver, who veered in and bumped Premio Maxima in late stretch of a high-priced maiden claiming race for 2-year-old fillies. Premio Maxima fell, unseating jockey Ray Fuentes. Osceola County also fell as a result of the incident.

Flash of Silver finished first but was disqualified and placed last.

Rafael Bejarano, who rode Osceola County, returned to accept the remainder of his mounts on the card. Fuentes was sent to the hospital for precautionary X-rays and took off all his assignments on Friday's program.

Velasquez was coming off a big weekend during which he rode two stakes winners for trainer Barclay Tagg: Nobiz Like Shobiz on Saturday in the Grade 2 Remsen and Showing Up the following afternoon in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby.