2006 Eclipse Award Champion Dreaming of Anna makes her 4-year-old debut Feb. 16.

2006 Eclipse Award Champion Dreaming of Anna makes her 4-year-old debut Feb. 16.

Four Footed Fotos

Dreaming of Anna Heads Endeavour

'Anna, Lear's Princess, Take the Ribbon all making 4YO debuts at Tampa Feb. 16.

2006 Eclipse Award Champion Dreaming of Anna will make her 4-year-old debut Feb. 16, when a field of 11 older fillies and mares takes to the turf in the $150,000 Endeavour Breeders’ Cup Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Tampa Bay Downs.

The Endeavour is part of Tampa Bay’s Festival Preview Day, which includes the $200,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16-miles on the main track and the $75,000 Suncoast Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile and 40 yards. But Dreaming of Anna is one of the most intriguing runners on the card, seeking her first win since a 2007 score in Arlington Park’s Sept. 8 Pucker Up Stakes (gr. IIIT) and unraced since a 2 ¼-length loss to Bit of Whimsy in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) at Keeneland Oct. 13.

“This looks like a good spot for her, and it’ll be a nice comeback race,” said trainer Wayne Catalano. “We’ve been freshening her up, and she worked very well last time; I was happy with her recent work.”

The Rahyfilly went five furlongs in :59.40 at Gulfstream Feb. 11. A proven frontrunner, she looks to set the pace in the 1 1/16-mile event. Bred in Kentucky by owner Frank Calabrese out of the Broad Brush mare Justenufheart, Dreaming of Anna currently has a 7-2-1 record from 11 career starts, including six stakes wins and a victory in the 2006 Gray Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin will send out the only other runner whose resume comes close to that of the Catalano trainee – West Point Thoroughbreds’ Lear’s Princess, whose previously impressive record was tarnished by a 10th-place finish in the Oct. 27 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) when she couldn’t handle the Monmouth Park slop.

“She didn’t run well at all,” McLaughlin said. “We picked this race because it’s kind of hard to get one ready to run 1 1/8-miles on the dirt, and at Gulfstream that’s all we have in the Rampart Handicap (gr. II, March 9). You don’t have to be as fit to run on the turf first time back, so it looked like a good spot.”

Lear’s Princess is a 4-year-old daughter of Lear Fan bred in Kentucky by Palides Investments out of the Carson City mare Pretty City. She broke her maiden at first asking over the Polytrack at Keeneland last year and was unbeaten in two subsequent starts on the turf at the 1 1/16-mile distance, then moved to dirt for second-place finishes behind Octave in the Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) and Lady Joanne in the Alabama Stakes (gr. I). She came back for a win in the Sept. 15 Gazelle Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park before turning in her first off the board performance in the Breeders’ Cup. Generally close to the pace, she figures to rate just behind the frontrunners.

“She moves great over the turf and has good form on it,” McLaughlin said. “The only reason we ever switched her was because it looked like the thing to do to get some black type on her, and she ran so well that we stayed with it for the rest of the year. But she worked over it brilliantly the last few times; so, hopefully, she runs well and, if she’s even second or third, we might keep her on the turf or Polytrack this year. It’s just a nice comeback race, not a must-win situation.”

Also making her first start of 2008 is Eurowest Bloodstock’s homebred Take the Ribbon, trained by Wally Dollase. Fourth behind Precious Kitten in her last effort, the John C. Mabee Handicap (gr. I) at Del Mar in October of 2007, the 5-year-old Chester House mare seeks her first win since a score in the May 5 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIIT). With a 3-2-2 record from 12 starts and a running style that tends to stick close to the pace, she also may be up behind Dreaming of Anna.

Assigned the high weight in the field is the David Brownlee-trained Pretoria Light, a 4-year-old daughter of Colony Light bred in Florida by owner J D Farms. The filly was second in her last effort, a one-mile allowance event over the Calder dirt.

Tiger Belle, Lil’s Lassie, The Real Future, Jaunty Gale, Patricia, Beautiful Venue, and Meribel complete the field.

$150,000 Endeavour Stakes (gr. IIIT, race 9, approximate post 4:14 p.m. EST), 1 1/16-miles for older fillies and mares, turf
PP, Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Tiger Belle, 116, (No Rider)
2. Take the Ribbon, 116, Cornelio Velasquez
3. Lil's Lassie, 118, Luis Antonio Gonzalez
4. The Real Future, 118, Daniel Coa
5. Jaunty Gale, 118, Tammi Piermarini
6. Dreaming of Anna, 116, (No Rider)
7. Patricia, 118, Carlos Montalvo
8. Lear's Princess, 116, Eibar Coa
9. Beautiful Venue, 116, Daniel Centeno
10. Pretoria Light, 122, Jose Lezcano
11. Meribel, 116, Garrett Gomez