11/25/2010 1:32PM

Surrey Star makes U.S. debut in Generous

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Benoit & Associates
Comma to the Top dominated in the Real Quiet, but switches to turf for the Generous.

Many people start their holiday shopping the day after Thanksgiving, on Black Friday. Jim Cassidy starts a few weeks earlier, and he goes out of his way to find the best gifts.

Cassidy for years has been a regular at the fall sales in Newmarket, England, where his keen eye has picked out, for not much money, horses who developed into top-class runners on these shores, most notably Ticker Tape and Katdogawn.

He is hoping to find another pot of gold on Saturday at end of a rainbow that stretches from Newmarket to Hollywood Park. Cassidy will send out Surrey Star, who makes his North American debut fresh off the plane in the Grade 3, $100,000 Generous Stakes for 2-year-olds.

The Generous, at one mile on turf, goes as the seventh race on a 10-race card, and is the first leg of the late pick four.

Surrey Star raced eight times in Great Britain, beginning in May and culminating with a seventh-place finish in a Group 3 stakes at Newbury on Oct. 23. Cassidy, acting on behalf of the Class Racing partnership, acquired Surrey Star shortly thereafter. Though his lone win was against maidens, Surrey Star just missed in a Group 3 stakes at Newmarket, and was third in two other stakes, one a Group 3, the other listed.

“He’s a lovely horse to look at, and his form is obviously pretty good,” Cassidy said Thursday morning. “I’ve had him here about a week. He’s been very professional. He’s a gentleman. This doesn’t appear to have fazed him. I’ve got no sorrows right now.”

Preparation, though, has not been seamless. Wet weather last weekend and earlier this week prevented Cassidy from working Surrey Star on the turf.

Surrey Star will be racing on Lasix for the first time.

For Surrey Star to prevail, he will have to beat a trio of horses – Boxeur des Rues, Dominator, and Divine Child – from the barn of trainer Doug O’Neill, as well as Comma to the Top, who has won three straight, including the Real Quiet three weeks ago.

Comma to the Top, like Surrey Star, has been aggressively campaigned. Both are making the ninth start of their 2-year-old seasons. Comma to the Top, trained by Peter Miller, has improved sharply this fall. He won twice at Golden Gate in sprints, then ran the best race of his career when going long in the Real Quiet. He has never raced on turf.