08/28/2002 12:00AM

Vasquez has work cut out


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Two racing men who enjoyed considerable success return to Grade 1 competition Friday when Vasquez, carrying the Shortleaf Stable colors of John Ed Anthony of Hot Springs, Ark., and trained by John Veitch, bids for the $200,000 Spinaway Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at seven furlongs.

Vasquez, a homebred daughter of Coronado's Quest who finished strongly and gamely to win her debut two weeks ago, has a formidable assignment. She will face such promising prospects as the undefeated Awesome Humor, who notched her third victory in the recent Adirondack Stakes, and Stellar, a $700,000 yearling purchase who posted two good performances at this meeting. But Anthony and Veitch have confidence Vasquez, named for the great Spanish explorer of the 16th century, will give a good account.

"The two principal qualities of the good racehorse are ability and courage," Veitch said at the barn. "Vasquez, in her race here, indicated she has both. She also has unusual speed. She is not a striking individual. She's on the small side and rather plain-looking. But she has a fine disposition and is very competitive. She reminds me of a filly I used to have for Calumet Farm, Before Dawn. She won the Spinaway in 1981."

Anthony, who has extensive timber interests in the Midwest, dispersed his powerful Loblolly Stable some six years ago for matters of personal consideration. He raced many good ones, most of them homebreds, including Vanlandingham, Cox's Ridge, Prairie Bayou, and Pine Bluff. In the interim he was represented by a smaller stable, the horses split among several trainers at Midwesteren tracks.

Veitch developed numerous stars for Calumet Farm in the 1970's and 1980's, including the brilliant Alydar and those exceptional fillies Our Mims and Davona Dale. He also had a successful tour with Darby Dan Farm, capturing a Breeders' Cup Classic with Proud Truth and a Washington D.C. International at Laurel with Sunshine Forever.

In recent years Veitch trained a stable in Saudi Arabia for a member of the royal family and had another brief tenure with Calumet Farm.

Anthony prefers to race homebreds and is a firm believer in class in the dam. He is gradually rebuilding his broodmare band, which now numbers 15. One whom he regards with particular appreciation is Long Silence, a daughter of Alleged who is the dam of Vasquez. Anthony bought her at Keeneland out of a Lane's End consignment, and she has already produced two stakes winners and a promising 3-year-old filly named Wood Sprite, who won her maiden race at the Fair Grounds last winter and is training forwardly again after a setback. If Vasquez does well in the Spinaway, Long Silence will advance to blue hen status.

Evans stable having banner year

Like Anthony, Edward P. Evans has a preference for racing homebreds and his stable is enjoying its finest season, with winnings approaching the $3.9 million mark.

The pride of the Evans broodmare band is Probable Colony by Pleasant Colony, who won the Kentucky Derby in 1981 for Evans's late father, Thomas Mellon Evans. Probable Colony is the dam of Summer Colony, who registered a smashing victory by 4 1/2 lengths last week in the $400,000 Personal Ensign Handicap.

That victory enhanced her position as the finest filly in the East, one of the best in the country, and a top prospect for a Breeders' Cup Distaff berth.

Probable Colony, who never raced, is out of Withallprobability, purchased by Evans for $600,000. Withallprobability was a top racing filly, and was second to Lite Light in the Kentucky Oaks of 1991.