10/31/2009 12:00AM

Two ex-claimers win stakes for Brueggemann


STICKNEY, Ill. - Things had been a tad slow so far this Hawthorne fall meet for the barn of trainer Roger Brueggemann. That changed Saturday.

Brueggemann makes his living at the claim box, and former claimers Mighty Rule and Ripe Tomato won two of the six Illinois-bred stakes here.

Ripe Tomato took the first stakes in the sequence, closing from last to win the $84,750 Powerless Handicap by 2 1/2 lengths. And in the last of the stakes, Mighty Rule pressed the pace, took over in midstretch, and held off a late charge from defending champ High Expectations in the $91,275 Lightning Jet Handicap.

Brueggemann claimed Mighty Rule ($16.60) on behalf of the Scarlet Stable of Rose and Chris Barney for $50,000 in May. After three second-place finishes following the claim, Mighty Rule broke through, and did so at the expense of his former trainer, Christine Janks, who saddled runner-up High Expectations.

The whole shape of the Lightning Jet changed when 4-5 favorite and likely pacesetter Shrewd Operator hopped at the start, totally missing the break. Instead, it was Tripper's Cart who led early, going a wind-aided opening quarter-mile in 21.69 seconds. The half-mile split was 44.95, and most of the speed started backing up. But not Mighty Rule, who kept on gamely to hold clear outside-closing High Expectations by 1 1/2 lengths. Mighty Rule ridden by Jose Ferrer, was timed in 1:10.03. Last Gran Standing rallied for third.

Owner John Carman claimed Ripe Tomato for $25,000 in March. Turned over to Brueggemann, she nearly won an Illinois-bred stakes at Arlington, and might have run a career top Saturday, outfinishing last year's winner, Nicks, in the six-furlong Powerless. Ripe Tomato, ridden to victory by Brandon Meier, paid $16.80 to win, and was timed in a stakes-record 1:09.87. Nicks beat out Secret Kin for third.

He's Bonafide upsets Buck's Boy

Stonehouse was the race's defending champion, Fort Prado was making the last start of an illustrious career, but the hero of the $103,950 Buck's Boy Handicap was He's Bonafide, overlooked at 12-1, but easily best Saturday.

Tracking a moderate pace while in the clear throughout under Eddie Perez, He's Bonafide took over at the top of the stretch, and drew away from odds-on Stonehouse to win by 5 1/2 lengths.

Bred, owned, and trained by Hugh Robertson, He's Bonafide debuted in a $25,000 maiden-claimer about one year ago, and produced a career-best performance in his stakes debut.

Stonehouse broke on top, but was outrun for the early lead by All in Slew, and wound suffering through a difficult trip. He ran on mildly to beat out Racing Bran for second.

Fort Prado, whose connections chose this race over the six-furlong Lightning Jet, never got involved in his career finale. He went evenly, and finished eighth.

My Time to Star romps

Two-year-old My Time to Star ran well winning his career debut here Oct. 3, but he ran better Saturday, capturing the $91,125 Sun Power Stakes by seven lengths.

Based in Kentucky with trainer Dale Romans, My Time to Star, a Five Star Day colt, was purchased at auction for $50,000 by Bill Heiligbrodt, whose vast racehorse holdings include few Illinois-breds. This one could prove useful. On the pace in his debut, My Time to Star ($6.40) broke well Saturday, but settled in third as Royal Express set the pace, tracked by Devient Behavior. Jockey Israel Ocampo kept his mount on the fence, and My Time to Star came through along the rail in upper stretch, and easily drew off. He was timed in a strong 1:10.65 for six furlongs.

Royal Express ran on decently, and was easily third over fading Devient Behavior.

Stakes record for Thats Whatshesaid

Blinkers on, blinkers off, blinkers back on. The equipment changes showing on the form lines of Thats Whatshesaid only are the tip of the iceberg. The 2-year-old filly's not easy to handle, but worth the work after winning the $88,725 Showtime Deb Stakes.

"We don't have much of a plan for this filly going in," said winning trainer Jim Gulick. "She's a little erratic. We just let her break and see what she does."

Thats Whatshesaid ($9.60), bred and owned by the Hoss-Bone Racing stable of Mark Von Keirsbilck, was on her game Saturday, tracking the pace of favored Shake N Quake while racing along the fence under Ariel Smith. She came out to wear down the leader in the final furlong, getting her six furlongs in 1:11.40, a stakes record.

* Apple Martini ($9.60) salvaged an otherwise tough day for trainer Chris Block, winning the $86,175 Illini Princess by three-quarters of a length over Lakeaway, another Block-trained mare. The Virginia Tarra Trust bred and owns Apple Martini, a full sister to Giant Oak.