09/30/2008 11:00PM

Stardom Bound, Mani Bhavan on different paths


Stardom Bound, who came from far off the pace to record her first career victory in runaway fashion in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante, is the top-ranked 2-year-old filly in the West. The undefeated Mani Bhavan, who used her high speed to win the Grade 1 Spinaway and Grade 2 Adirondack at Saratoga in her last two starts, is the most accomplished 2-year-old filly in the East. And their opposing approaches to the Juvenile Fillies is representative of the continent that separates them.

Mani Bhavan is being handled intuitively. She might have a prep for the Breeders' Cup, or she might not. If she doesn't, it would mean she would go in the Juvenile Fillies off a 63-day layoff without having raced beyond seven furlongs and without any synthetic-track experience.

Stardom Bound is going old school. She is getting her final prep in Saturday's Grade 1 Oak Leaf at the Juvenile Fillies distance of 1 1/16 miles over the same Pro-Ride track she will race on in the Breeders' Cup in four weeks.

"Do I think a race over the track is important this year?" repeated Christopher Paasch, trainer of Stardom Bound. "It's absolutely important."

Paasch said he considered sending her to the Alcibiades at Keeneland on Oct. 3, "because the track there is similar to the one at Del Mar."

"But," he said, "she gets over the track at Hollywood well also, and that makes me think she'll be fine at Santa Anita. Plus, getting to stay here locally without having to ship I think is a distinct advantage."

While the Alcibiades has fallen off of Paasch's radar, it is on Steve Klesaris's for Mani Bhavan.

"At this point, she'll either go in the Alcibiades or go straight to the Breeders' Cup," said Klesaris, who added that Mani Bhavan returned to work last Saturday after a planned freshening following the Spinaway with an unrecorded seven furlong breeze at Fair Hill in 1:33. "The Alcibiades is only 20 days out from the Breeders' Cup, but it is on a synthetic track."

Klesaris seemed especially high on another 2-year-old filly in his care, Sky Diva. Sky Diva is not a top-10 contender for the Juvenile Fillies as she only recently won her racing debut at Delaware Park in mediocre time. But she did so around two turns, very easily, and by 10 lengths.

"Oh, she's definitely a Breeders' Cup candidate," Klesaris said.

He said Sky Diva will probably run in either the Mazarine at Woodbine on Oct. 5 or the Alcibiades, if Mani Bhavan doesn't run in it. Another possibility is the Frizette at Belmont Park on Oct. 4, "but I'm leaning toward a race on a synthetic track for her," Klesaris said.

Other preps for the Juvenile Fillies on Saturday are the Brave Raj at Calder and the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies at Turfway Park.