By Paul Volponi
Edward P. Evans' Raging Fever heads a field of seven fillies and mares in Saturday's Bed o' Roses Breeders' Cup (gr. III) at Aqueduct. The fleet-footed filly from the barn of trainer Mark Hennig comes into the mile event off of a powerful, front-running score in the Distaff Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at seven furlongs over the Aqueduct strip.
Raging Fever, who won the one-mile Matron and the Frizette (both gr. I) at a 1 1/16-miles as a 2-year-old, appears to be the lone speed since the likely defection of her stable mate, Pleasant County.
"My first plan was to enter them both, and run Raging Fever," said Mark Hennig, who won't be compromising either of his filly's chances with a potential speed duel.
Critical Eye will make her return to the races as a 5-year-old for trainer Scott Schwartz. After a 90-day stead in Florida, she has trained aggressively for Saturday's encounter since finishing eighth in last year's Breeders Cup Distaff (gr. I).
"She came back better than I expected," said Schwartz, who is once again aiming for the Breeders' Cup with his star pupil. Only this year, Schwartz will set her on a less demanding race schedule.
The Shug McGaughey trained Atelier will be making her second start of the year after a fourth place finish in an allowance sprint at Gulfstream Park. On Tuesday, assistant trainer Buzz Tenney clocked the daughter of Deputy Minister in a slick :36.1--:48.2 four furlong move at Belmont Park.
"There's going to be pace for her," said Tenney of Saturday's race, and Atelier's come from behind style.
Coming from off the pace may be the only choice available to the foes of the sizzling Raging Fever, who will have John Velasquez in the irons.
The field- #1 Atelier (Edgar Prado) #2- Senora Claudia ( Jose Santos) #3- Pleasant County (John Velasquez) #4- Belle Artiste (Jean-Luc Samyn) #5- Shiny Band (Javier Castellano) #6 Raging Fever (John Velasquez) #7- Critical Eye (Mike Luzzi)