03/12/2009 12:00AM

Waquoit's Love needs a clean trip


OLDSMAR, Fla. - Saturday's Grade 3 Hillsborough Stakes, one of three stakes on the Tampa Bay Derby undercard, has drawn a competitive field of 11 fillies and mares, including the classy Waquoit's Love and Backseat Rhythm. The Hillsborough (race 10) will be run at 1 1/8 miles over the turf course.

Waquoit's Love is coming off a troubled seventh-place finish in the Grade 3 Suwannee River at Gulfstream Park. She came into the race off a neck win in the Marshua's River Stakes in her 2009 debut at Gulfstream. But when she tried to launch her rally from the rail in the stretch of the Suwannee River, an opening between rivals closed and Waquoit's Love was forced to check, losing all chance.

Trainer Timothy Hill admits Waquoit's Love will need a bit of luck on Saturday.

"She's a big mare, and while she does have tactical speed, she's not the type that has that explosive kick," Hills said. "She needs a few strides to get in high gear, then she'll go on with it.

"She always shows up, and when she gets good she stays good for a while. Right now she's sharp."

Daniel Centeno has the mount at 122 pounds.

Backseat Rhythm won the Grade 1 Garden City Stakes at Belmont last season as a 3-year-old and was third last time out in the Grade 3 The Very One Stakes at Gulfstream in her first start of the year.

"Her last race was very good," trainer Pat Reynolds said. "She was victimized by a sluggish pace in that one. She's as good as hands can make her. I like that turf course at Tampa; the one at Gulfstream is a little too sandy for her. She's a Grade 1 horse against a Grade 3 bunch, that's what I'm hanging my hat on."

Backseat Rhythm goes for her fifth turf win and will be ridden by Eibar Coa at 118 pounds.

Ballymore Lady and Elusive Lady, who finished a neck apart when one-two in the Grade 3 Endeavour Stakes over the turf here last time out, merit a long look, as does the Bill Mott-trained Mushka, who lost a head decision in the Suwannee River in her last start.

Communique, who kept top company last season, makes her 2009 debut. Trained by Rusty Arnold, she was second in the Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park and third in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl at Belmont last year. While nine furlongs may be a bit shorter than her best distance, she still deserves consideration.

Chamberlain Bridge tough in Dash

Chamberlain Bridge, a front-running winner of the Colonel Power Stakes going 5 1/2 furlongs over the Fair Grounds turf course in his last race, tops the $75,000 Turf Dash (race 12) at five furlongs. Although 14 are entered, a maximum of 10 will be allowed to start.

Chamberlain Bridge has won 6 of 10 starts on the turf and is one of several in the Dash field with strong early speed.

Jeremy Rose is named on Chamberlain Bridge at 122 pounds.

Castles in the Sky, who has won his last two turf starts locally, and Blind River Fox, who won the Pelican Stakes on the main track earlier this season and has 22 victories, are worth a look, along with Cooper County, winner of his last two over the local turf using strong speed.

- additional reporting

by Mike Welsch