Updated on 09/15/2011 12:33PM

Three fillies with potential galore

Email

AUBURN, Wash. - Three fillies will vie for favoritism in Sunday's six-furlong Angie C. Stakes for

2-year-old fillies, and they appear to be evenly matched.

Strong Credentials, Perfect Plan, and Strikes No Spares all won their debuts with elan. Strong Credentials easily defeated open maiden special weight company by nearly six lengths with five furlongs in 58 seconds on June 9. Perfect Plan overcame a slow start to win the five-furlong Pierce County Stakes for Washington-breds by three lengths in 58.60 a day later. And Strikes No Spares powered to a 6 3/4-length victory over open maiden special weight rivals after 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.40 on June 23.

Strong Credentials, a compact daughter of Carson City, was bred in Kentucky by Jerre Paxton's Northwest Farms. Paxton entered her in a yearling sale in Kentucky, but bought her back for $375,000.

"Jerre hadn't seen her before the sale, and when he saw her he decided to bid on her himself," explained trainer Bob McMeans. "There was another guy bidding on her who wouldn't give up, so it ended up costing Jerre a hefty commission to get her back.

"I've always liked her. She has a good mind, and she has enough speed to do whatever you want with her. She could have gone to the front in her first race, but we had the rider take hold of her early because we didn't want to turn her into a speedball."

Owner and trainer Bud Klokstad thought enough of Perfect Plan to debut her in a stakes, and he wasn't disappointed. A homebred daughter of Game Plan, Perfect Plan hopped at the start to get away eighth in the field of nine, but wove through traffic to hit the lead in the upper stretch and drew away to prove much the best.

"She showed me a lot that day," said Klokstad. "She was so green that she was whinnying in the paddock and she didn't break, but she still won for fun. I would think she'll run better this time. She is a half-sister to Personal Decision, who went six furlongs in 1:09.20 to win a stakes in northern California. I actually think this one is the better filly."

Strikes No Spares is a Kentucky-bred daughter of the promising Mr. Prospector stallion Smart Strike from the Seattle Slew mare All Things Nice. Trainer Dave Forster bought her for Jack and Ivor Jones for $80,000 at Keeneland last September.

"The Jones brothers said they would like a really nice filly for $50,000 to $80,000, so as it turned out I maxed out the budget," said Forster. "She was the most expensive yearling I had ever bought, so I was hoping she could run. I thought I bought her for the right reasons. I loved her pedigree, and I particularly liked her balance and her attitude. Still, there are no guarantees.

"Fortunately, she showed me in her training that she had ability, and she showed it again in her first race. She came out of the race well, and I think she'll improve as she goes along."

Mike K bound for Mile

Mike K marked himself as a prime contender for the Grade 3 Longacres Mile on Aug. 19 with his 1 1/2-length victory over Handy N Bold in Wednesday's Independence Day Handicap.

Mike K was the runner-up to Budroyale in the 1999 Longacres Mile, but he missed all of 2000 after injuring a suspensory last April. The time off apparently did no harm, as the now 7-year-old Mike K won the 6 1/2-furlong Independence Day in a crisp 1:15 under Frank Fuentes to notch his 12th victory from 18 career starts.

Bert Perry, who heads the group of 10 individuals which owns Mike K, said he will start once more before the Longacres Mile, either in the 1 1/16-mile Hong Kong Handicap at Hastings Park or the mile Mt. Rainier Breeders' Cup Handicap here. The Mt. Rainier, which carries a purse of $100,000, will be run March 29.

- The return of Edneator, who won last year's Longacres Mile en route to horse of the meeting honors, will be delayed a bit. Assistant trainer Kay Cooper reported that the

5-year-old Edneator came up with some mucus in his respiratory system and was sent home to her family's nearby farm to recover.