10/06/2016 9:06AM

Stonetastic fresh for Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes

Email
Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Stonetastic wins the Regret Stakes at Monmouth Park in her most recent start July 30.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kelly Breen won’t get ahead of himself, at least not publicly. His stable star, Stonetastic, is in line for a third straight start in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, but Breen is committed to nothing beyond the Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes on Saturday at Keeneland.

“We’re only focusing on this race,” said Breen. “If she runs well, like we think she will, then we’ll see what the next step is.”

With Paco Lopez riding from post 2, Stonetastic figures as the one to catch among eight fillies and mares in the $250,000 TCA Stakes, a six-furlong race with a Win and You’re In berth at stake toward the Nov. 5 BC Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita. Stonetastic ran fourth at 3-1 in the 2014 Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita and faded to eighth at 7-1 here last year.

Stonetastic’s 19-race record for owner Stoneway Farm includes a couple of triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures. The 5-year-old mare got a 104 in winning the ungraded Regret Stakes at her home track, Monmouth Park, in her most recent start July 30.

“We’ve given her plenty of time,” said Breen. “Hopefully, there’s no bounce. She’s trained really well, and we’re here in good shape.”

Spelling Again (post 8, Luis Saez) could loom a threat to Stonetastic once the field straightens for home. The 5-year-old mare will be equipped with blinkers when favorably drawn in the outside gate.

“It’s a great post,” said trainer Brad Cox. “She’s had uncomfortable trips down inside in a couple of races this year. We’ve put blinkers on to get her to focus and sharpen her up. There shouldn’t be any excuses this time.”

Southern California shipper Bendable (post 5, Jose Ortiz) is another legitimate threat after winning three of her first four starts for Claiborne Farm and Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella. She’s the only 3-year-old in the lineup and will be looking to become the first sophomore filly to win the TCA since Holiday for Kitten prevailed in 2011 over Polytrack.

One long-priced possibility is the defending champion, Fioretti (post 6, Sophie Doyle), who won in the mud last year at 17-1 for trainer Anthony Hamilton. Excitable Lady (1982-83) is the only two-time winner from 35 previous runnings of the TCA.

The rest of the field is Irish Jasper, Meshell, Sarah Sis, and I’m a Looker.

The TCA goes as the sixth of 10 Saturday races at 4 p.m. Eastern.

KEY CONTENDERS

Stonetastic, by Mizzen Mast
Last 3 Beyers: 104-80-92

◗ Third as the even-money favorite in the 2014 TCA, this gray mare surely will employ her customary front-running tactics in shooting for the third graded stakes win of her career.

Spelling Again, by Awesome Again
Last 3 Beyers: 76-88-97

◗ Former $40,000 claimer captured the Grade 2 Chilukki and Grade 2 Princess Rooney within the last year and now will be looking to show a little more zip than in her last two races.

Bendable, by Horse Greeley
Last 3 Beyers: 87-94-87

◗ Hard to say exactly what she’s beaten out West, but surely the Claiborne folks are excited to showcase her in front of the hometown crowd as she ships in off a couple of sharp Santa Anita works.

:: Like this article? Unlock access to premium articles, real-time coverage, reports, charts, and more. Start your 30-day trial for 1¢. (First-time members only.)