08/31/2008 11:00PM

Stardom Bound, indeed


DEL MAR, Calif. - Trainer Christopher Paasch said he had reserved the name Stardom Bound five years ago, saving it for a special filly. He finally submitted the name for a Tapit filly he bought for owner Charles Cono at a 2-year-old in training sale earlier this year, and on Monday at Del Mar, everybody saw why.

Stardom Bound crushed 11 other 2-year-old fillies in the Grade 1, $250,000 Del Mar Debutante, utilizing a breathtaking last-to-first rush that found her 4 1/4 lengths best at the wire. Palacio de Amor, the early pacesetter, held on for second, a neck in front of Will O Way. Empressive Lady, the 2-1 favorite, was fifth, and Saucey Evening seventh after encountering severe traffic in the stretch run.

Stardom Bound completed seven furlongs on Polytrack in 1:22.50, then, according to jockey Mike Smith, was looking to do more after the race.

“Pulling up after the race, she started playing,” Smith said. “You don't see things like that.”

Stardom Bound ($13) came into the race a maiden, but the gray-colored filly was well-regarded following a pair of runner-up finishes at this meet, including in the Sorrento Stakes on Aug. 6. In the Debutante, Smith let her lag behind the field, then made sure she was in the clear when she started rolling past her rivals. Stardom Bound is the second maiden to win the Debutante, joining Cindy's Hero (2000).

“This is very satisfying,” said Paasch, who pointed Stardom Bound for the Debutante from the start of the meet. “She's not 'bound' anymore. I think she just became a star.”

Paasch said he and Cono were prepared to go higher than the $375,000 they paid for Stardom Bound earlier this year.

“She's a big, long-legged, beautiful filly,” said Paasch, who trains privately for Cono.

Stardom Bound will likely make her next start in the Grade 1, $250,000 Oak Leaf Stakes at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting Sept. 27, according to Paasch. That will be her final prep for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies on Oct. 24.

There were two other stakes run earlier on Monday, the Windy Sands and the I'm Smokin.

In his first start for trainer Vladimir Cerin, Albertus Maximus ($14.40) took the overland route and proved much the best in the $91,400 Windy Sands Handicap for older horses.

Albertus Maximus checked in 2 1/4 lengths in front of the longshot Add Heat, who rallied to finish second, a half-length in front of old-timer Perfect Drift. Dilemma, the lukewarm favorite at 4-1, was fifth in the field of 10.

Albertus Maximus, 4, covered one mile on Polytrack in 1:35.37, a track record. He has now won four times in 13 starts, but this was his first stakes win. He was second in the Swaps Stakes a year ago.

Brandon and Marianne Chase bred and own Albertus Maximus, a colt by Albert the Great.

Babs Moossa completed a sweep of the meet's California-bred stakes for 2-year-old males by rallying up the rail to take the $114,200 I'm Smokin Stakes by a head from Control Seeker, with Lucky Primo another three-quarters of a length back in third. He covered six furlongs on Polytrack in 1:10.39.

Babs Moossa ($7), the favorite, was scoring his fourth straight win, including the Graduation Stakes for Cal-breds on July 23. Garrett Gomez rode him to both victories.

Jerry Hollendorfer trains Babs Moossa, a gelding, for Ted Aroney's Halo Farms, which owns and bred the son of Crowning Storm.