11/02/2007 12:00AM

Two West Coast 2-year-olds to watch

EmailPHOENIX - It hasn't been a banner year for West Coast juveniles as far as making a national impact. Southern California juveniles were no factor in the Breeders' Cup races, though the scratch of Grade 1 Norfolk winner Dixie Chatter hurt their chances.

The sloppy Monmouth Park track aside, it simply might be that the best of the West hasn't been unveiled yet, or at least not in time for the Breeders' Cup. There were two maiden winners at Oak Tree last month, however, that look like top-class prospects.

Hard to believe it was so long ago - 13 years now - that Dick Mandella unveiled Afternoon Deelites. Everything seemed to come to him easily. It's too early to say that Into Mischief is the next Afternoon Deelites, but the way he won his career debut Oct. 21 for Mandella certainly gives reason to be excited.

Off a series of strong works over Oak Tree at Santa Anita's Cushion Track, Into Mischief broke smartly in his 6 1/2-furlong debut. He was hounded on both sides through hot fractions of 21.87 and 44.58 seconds. Turning for home it looked as if he might get swallowed up on both sides. But rider Victor Espinoza let out a notch and in a flash the race was over. Into Mischief drove low and hard and grabbed the ground, a la Snow Chief, pulling away to win by 2 1/2 length. His six-furlong fraction was 1:08.36,and the final time 1:14.36 for a Beyer Speed Figure of 83.

In fact, Into Mischief blew the race open so quickly he was actually geared down in the final half-furlong. That kind of explosive acceleration - again I compare him to Afternoon Deelites - is a gift, and when you see it in a 2-year-old, particularly a debuting 2-year-old, you might have something special.

There's cause for optimism as the distance increases, too. His sire, the multiple Grade 1 winner Harlan's Holiday, won nine races and over $3.6 million. He won seven routes, including the Grade 1 Florida Derby and Grade 1 Blue Grass at 3, and the Grade 1 Donn Handicap at 4. Into Mischief's only two siblings are both multiple winners.

After Mandella unleashed Afternoon Deelites on poor, unsuspecting maidens, he came back in the Grade 3 Hollywood Prevue and romped, and won the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity with a dazzling display. Don't be surprised if Mandella follows the same path with this potential new star.

Another exciting juvenile - this one a filly - who hinted at big things to come last month is Unspoken Fur, who is trained by Bobby Frankel.

Frankel trained the filly's sire, Empire Maker, who won the Belmont Stakes, the Grade 1 Wood Memorial, and the Grade 1 Florida Derby - and was second to eventual 3-year-old champ Funny Cide in the Kentucky Derby.

Empire Maker's daughter Unspoken Fur debuted in a turf route here Sept. 27 and blew the start. To her credit, she ran on nicely to be sixth, beaten just three lengths. She gave a glimpse of her talent that day and showed she could overcome some trouble. So when she resurfaced on the Cushion Track Oct. 12 going a mile, there was plenty of cause for optimism, despite an outside draw.

She got jostled on the first turn and shuffled back. Under Joe Talamo, she finally found room, was able to lengthen her stride and go from fifth into a contending position into the lane. But then her trip began to look like a Stephen King novel - she got blocked in the lane, had to steady, then got bumped some more. But she showed grit to surge between horses and win by 1 1/2 lengths. The Beyer, 65, was modest, but it does not do justice to her performance.

There's every reason to believe her daddy will be a top sire, but there's plenty on the bottom, too. Unspoken Fur's dam is Spoken Fur, and all she did was win the Grade 1 Mother Goose and Grade 1 CCA Oaks and finish third in the Grade 1 Alabama and Grade 1 Gazelle.

In other words, there's class galore in the pedigree and class that should blossom further as the furlongs are added on.

Can you say Kentucky Oaks?