02/05/2002 12:00AM

Talent is there, but pedigree isn't


LAS VEGAS - Thus far, most of the 3-year-olds who have raced this year are sprinter-miler types and are longshots at best even to compete in the Derby. Came Home, winner of last weekend's San Vicente Stakes, and Showmeitall, winner of the Hutcheson Stakes, join Booklet, Werblin, Popular, Axis, Monthir, Metatron, Cappuchino, Captain Squire, and Raven Power as 3-year-olds who are bred to be best up to 1 1/16 miles.

Came Home (by Gone West) is a classy individual and could be a factor in this year's Metropolitan Handicap or Breeders' Cup Sprint. His pedigree is awash in speed influences, such as Gone West, Clever Trick, and Full Out, and his brilliance will be diminished with every furlong over one mile.

Showmeitall is by All Gone, a son of Fappiano out of the Buckpasser mare Squander, who was bred by Ogden Mills Phipps. Based on his superior pedigree, All Gone was a disappointment as a racehorse, winning his first stakes at age 5, but his pedigree always suggested he could get a good horse. His sire, Fappiano, was a brilliant miler and a son of Mr. Prospector. All Gone's dam, Squander, won the Sorority Stakes and Astoria Stakes at 2, and in addition to All Gone, she produced two other stakes winners, Serious Spender (Seattle Slew) and Russian Roubles (Nijinsky II). Squander's most important foal, however, was the unraced Pound Foolish (Sir Ivor), who produced multiple stakes winner Goodbye Halo. Another unraced daughter, Extravagant Woman (Alydar), produced stakes winner Living Vicariously.

Showmeitall's dam, Show Legs, is by Silent Screen, 1969 2-year-old champion. His next two damsires are strictly speed influences: Beau Legs (a son of Beau Gar) and Restless Wind. His pedigree is heavily slanted toward speed with very little stamina, but he showed lots of grit in holding off Monthir in the Hutcheson Stakes.

Monthir, who appeared to be on his way to victory in the Hutcheson, is bred to be a miler on dirt but is strongly bred for turf. His sire, Gulch, has surprisingly produced quality turf runners, including Harayir, Nayef, Torrential, and Eagle Cafe. His most successful son, Thunder Gulch, is a superior sire of grass runners. But Monthir gets additional turf breeding from his damsire, Storm Cat. Monthir's dam, Caress, was one of three full siblings who were stakes winners on turf. The others were Country Cat and Irish group winner Bernstein.

Werblin was undefeated in his first two starts, but he was spent after five furlongs in the San Vicente. Werblin is by Unbridled's Song, who had another blazing sprinter-miler last year in Songandaprayer. Unless Unbridled's Song is bred to a mare by a stamina influence such as Le Fabuleux, Roberto, or Pleasant Colony, his runners won't be effective at distances over 1 1/8 miles.

Popular is also bred to be best under one mile, and is another colt whose future should be on grass. Popular is by Saint Ballado (a full brother to Devil's Bag), and is out of a mare by speed and turf influence Gone West. The next dam is by grass influence The Minstrel (Northern Dancer), and his third dam is by speed influence Marshua's Dancer (Raise a Native).

Axis, also by Saint Ballado, is out of a mare by speed influence Moscow Ballet. Saint Ballado's best runner was Captain Bodgit, a member of his first crop. While Captain Bodgit was able to handle longer distances, most of Saint Ballado's runners have high speed and are best up to 1 1/8 miles. Axis's female family is all class. His second dam is a half-sister to Go for Gin and Pleasant Tap, but Axis's pedigree is top-heavy with speed influences.

Metatron (Silver Ghost), Cappuchino (Capote), Captain Squire (Flying Chevron), and Raven Power (Known Fact) are by sires who have distance limitations. Silver Ghost and Capote are fine sires, but their offspring rarely, if ever, want to go 1 1/4 miles. Flying Chevron is a young stallion, but the son of Forty Niner made his mark as a stakes-winning miler. Known Fact was a champion miler in Europe, and as expected his runners are best on turf.

Conversely, Maybry's Boy, Harlan's Holiday, and Siphonic are bred to be Derby contenders. Maybry's Boy (Broad Brush), who finished fourth in the Hutcheson Stakes as the favorite, was spinning his wheels over a deep and slow surface. Bred to run long, he may return in the Fountain of Youth Stakes.

Harlan's Holiday (Harlan), second to Booklet in the Holy Bull Stakes, was impressive in defeat. Four wide throughout the race, he finished well. His sire died after only a few crops, but sired a classic runner in Menifee.

Siphonic (Siphon) had a rough trip in the Santa Catalina, and two big guns have yet to make their 3-year-old debuts. Repent (Louis Quatorze), who is bred to excel at longer distances, may debut this year in the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds, while the schedule for Johannesburg (Hennessy) is still a mystery.

And then there's Stephentown (Wild Again), possibly this year's version of Monarchos. Stephentown was a relative unknown until an allowance victory at 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream on Jan. 9. His presence in the Fountain of Youth adds pizzazz to what has been a lackluster season thus far.