08/27/2008 11:00PM

Stardom Bound needs only better luck

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DEL MAR, Calif. - Few maidens have a reputation as solid as Stardom Bound, the 2-year-old filly who starts in Monday's $250,000 Del Mar Debutante.

Few maidens have had as much tough luck this summer as Stardom Bound, too. In both her starts she had trouble breaking, and rallied to finish second each time. She lost a maiden special weight race over 5 1/2 furlongs by a nose in her debut on July 20, nearly making up all of a 12-length deficit through the final half-mile. In the Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes over 6 1/2 furlongs on Aug. 6, she was the 9-5 favorite and was beaten a length by Evita Argentina.

"I don't think too many people could watch the first race and not think she wasn't the best horse," trainer Christopher Paasch said. "I think her second start was unlucky. She broke so hard that the ground broke out from underneath her."

In the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante over seven furlongs, Stardom Bound will have even more time to recover if she breaks poorly. She faces the toughest field of her career. Evita Argentina is back, and the race marks the stakes debut of the flashy maiden race winners Empressive Lady, Montana Fields, Palacio de Amor, and Turtle Creek Babe.

Emmy Darling, a troubled third in the Sorrento and the winner of the Landaluce Stakes at Hollywood Park on June 28, will attract considerable support.

Paasch trains Stardom Bound for Charles Cono, who purchased her at the Ocala Breeders Sale's Co.'s auction in March for $375,000. Paasch is convinced that the longer distance will help Stardom Bound.

"Any added distance will help her," he said. "We're really looking forward to two turns. You can see it in her stride. She's such a long-striding filly. She's a very happy horse."

Blue Chagall finally makes U.S. debut

Blue Chagall makes his overdue American debut in Sunday's $350,000 Del Mar Derby. Blue Chagall was sick when he arrived in California in June, trainer Julio Canani said.

The illness prevented the French-bred colt from starting in the Oceanside Stakes here on July 16. Since then, Blue Chagall has shown improvement, according to Canani, who cited a seven-furlong workout in 1:27.40 on Aug. 20 as encouraging.

"The seven-eighths work was very good," Canani said. "He looks good compared to when he arrived."

Canani is after his fifth Del Mar Derby win, having won the race for the first time back in 1988 with Silver Circus and most recently in 2004 with Blackdoun.

Blackdoun was a French import, and Blue Chagall has good credentials in that country, winning the Group 3 Prix des Chenes at Longchamp in September 2007. In his most recent start, Blue Chagall was 16th of 19 in the French 2,000 Guineas in May. He is owned by Prestonwood Farm.

Canani said that Blue Chagall should be better suited to the firm California turf courses. "He'll get a freeway here," he said.

The Del Mar Derby is run over 1o1/8 miles on turf and has drawn a field of 10, including Sky Cape, the winner of the Grade 2 La Jolla Handicap on Aug. 9; Kilderry, the winner of a division of the Oceanside Stakes on July 16; and Gio Ponti, the winner of the Grade 2 Virginia Derby on July 19.

Baffert wins a stakes race

Trainer Bob Baffert was ready to ditch town on Wednesday afternoon, a week before the meeting ends. He had finally scored his first stakes win of the meet with Ten Churros in the $108,200 Generous Portion Stakes for statebred 2-year-old fillies.

"I've got my stakes," he joked. "I can leave."

Ten Churros gave Baffert his 79th stakes win at Del Mar, a record among trainers. He had hoped to achieve his first stakes win of the meeting last Sunday when reigning sprint champion Midnight Lute started in the Pat O'Brien Handicap. But Midnight Lute suffered an injury to his left front foot when he grabbed a quarter during a race. Midnight Lute has yet to resume racetrack training, but Baffert said on Wednesday that he hoped that a shoe could be placed on the foot in coming days.

Ten Churros was fitted with blinkers for the first time in the Generous Portion. Ridden by Clinton Potts, on his 37th birthday, Ten Churros was fifth for the opening quarter-mile, moved into second on the turn, and pulled away to win by 2 1/2 lengths over Tammy's Luck. Ten Churros ($9.80) ran six furlongs in 1:11.61.

Owned by Hal and Patti Earnhardt, Ten Churros has won 2 of 4 starts and $85,567. She was bought privately earlier this summer and finished fourth in the CTBA Stakes on July 18, her debut for the Earnhardts and Baffert.

Baffert said that Ten Churros is bound for the $125,000 California Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita on Oct. 5.