10/29/2008 11:00PM

Valid Message dangerous off third to City Style


Trainer Ellen Williams, who will send out probable favorite Valid Message in Saturday night's $100,000 El Joven at Retama Park, watched the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf with great interest.

"We were very anxious to see how City Style was going to run," she said. "I thought he ran a really credible race. I thought he made a really good showing."

City Style's fast-closing fourth, for which he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 88, bodes well for Valid Message. He was a troubled third to City Style in the $150,000 Sunday Silence at Louisiana Downs in his most recent start Sept. 20. Before that, Valid Message won the $75,000 Sunny's Halo at a mile on turf at Louisiana Downs.

The stakes win gives Valid Message the most relevant credentials in the El Joven. For 2-year-olds at a mile on turf, the race drew a full field of 12. So did the La Senorita, a one-mile turf stakes for 2-year-old fillies also that will be run Saturday night. The races are the richest open-company stakes at Retama.

Valid Message closed from 11 lengths back to win the Sunny's Halo on Aug. 16. He then ran in the Sunday Silence, and although he shows no published works since, he has been breezing right along at his training base in east Texas.

"He stays here at the farm," said Williams. "We just keep him here at home. He came out of the race real good."

Valid Message won his maiden in his two-turn and turf debut in July, at Lone Star Park. He followed that win with a victory in the Sunny's Halo, a race in which he defeated Bertsgoldenmissile, who has since won the $50,000 Gate Dancer at Louisiana Downs. Valid Message, meanwhile, proceeded to the Sunday Silence, closed fast, and figures to use the same off-the-pace tactics Saturday.

"That's his style," said Williams. "He likes to relax the first part, get settled and make his run."

Curt Bourque has the mount for H and H Ranch.

The chief threats include Holly Jet, who won the allowance prep for the El Joven on Oct. 11. He broke next to last from the rail in the 10-horse field, and managed to surge to a 1 3/4-length win. Steve Bourque has the mount for trainer Danny Pish.

Sunday Sunrise was a maiden special weight winner at a mile on turf at Hawthorne in his last start, while Expect Smoke is a full brother to Justaclown, who was a two-turn stakes winner on turf at 2.

Splash of Roses slight edge in La Senorita

Splash of Roses, who has placed in stakes in her last two starts, is one of the more accomplished fillies in the La Senorita. She was third in her two-turn and turf debut in the $150,000 Happy Ticket at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 20, and since then two fillies who finished behind her have returned to win their next start.

Trainer Randy Morse has given the mount to Quincy Hamilton.