If there is one thing Charming Colony needs in Friday's $100,000 Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT) it is a fast pace. If he gets it in the 1 1/8-mile turf test then his trainer Vinnie Blengs believes he will win the race.
"He needs a fast pace," Blengs said. "He's run much better since I've taught him how to make a big run late. One thing for sure, if he gets a fast pace he can win the Palm Beach. I hope what happened to Queue last Sunday doesn't happen to him."
Blengs was referring to his stakes-winning mare Queue who also likes to make a big run late. Unfortunately, there was a very slow pace in The Very One Handicap (gr. IIIT) and Queue could finish no better than fourth in the 1 3/8-mile turf test that was won by front-running Moon Queen.
Charming Colony has won twice and been second twice in four starts on the turf. More recently, he won an allowance race at Calder Race Course in his 2001 finale on Dec. 22. He then rallied from eighth to finish second in the Dave Feldman Stakes at Gulfstream in his seasonal debut on Jan. 14.
"He really likes the Gulfstream turf course," Blengs said. "I blew him out three furlongs this morning (:36 2/5 on the turf course with the dogs up) just to get his attention. Rene Douglas has been riding him and will ride him again on Friday. All I ask is fast pace."
Union Place is coming off an impressive victory at Gulfstream but will be moving up in company when he starts in the Palm Beach. "He's a nice colt and likes this course," trainer Randy Schulhofer said. "He won on it the only time he ran on it. He's been training very well and had a good workout on Monday. He went in 1:03 3/5 breezing and it'll set him up nicely. I look for him to run a good race."
Union Place had a win and a second last year when racing in Canada and was making his first start under Schulhofer's tutelage when he was a four-length winner of a 1 1/16-mile allowance on the turf on Jan. 27.
Jon Stable and Gordon Racing Corp.'s Lord Juban and Rey Wan Racing's Class of Seventy were both nominated to Friday's Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT) by trainer Tim Ritvo. Both were being considered as starters early in the week, but at entry time it was only Lord Juban who was entered.
"I decided to run Lord Juban by himself," Ritvo said Wednesday morning. "Lord Juban is strictly a grass horse and the added distance will not be a problem for him."
Lord Juban, a son of 1981 Florida Derby winner Lord Avie, finished third in his last start here in the Dave Feldman Stakes in mid-January. Previously, he had come from off the pace at Calder to drawoff by three lengths at 1 1/16 miles against allowance company.
"Class of Seventy is a better horse on grass than on dirt," said Ritvo, "but although he's been running a middle distance lately, he wants to go longer.
C.A. Bishop's Whisper Handsome, winless in four trips to the post, will have his second stakes encounter in the Palm Beach Stakes.
"I just can't find a race for his condition," said trainer Angelo Camillo, echoing similar comments made prior to Whisper Handsome's appearance in the Feldman. "The horse wants to go long, and he looks like a grass horse, and I've been looking for a maiden race for him, but I can't seem to get one. I even tried Tampa.
"He was in a tad too tough in that stakes last time," said Camillo, "but this race Saturday is at a mile and an eighth, and I know one thing -- the farther they go, the better he'll like it."