Lenatareese Takes Step Up in Pebbles 'Cap

(from Belmont Park report)
Lenatareese, who has overcome wide trips to win both her turf starts, was one of nine 3-year-old fillies entered in Monday's $100,000-added Pebbles Handicap (gr. IIIT), the Columbus Day feature at Belmont Park.

The Pebbles will be contested at nine furlongs over the inner turf.

Lenatareese has been nearly perfect in her short career, winning four of six starts on the Kentucky circuit. The Pebbles will be her first start since taking the Audubon Oaks at Ellis Park on July 31, a race she won with a determined seven-wide rally under jockey Brice Blanc.

Blanc will ride the daughter of Broad Brush on Monday.

"The competition in the Pebbles is going to be tougher than what she faced at Ellis Park, but I thought her last race was an impressive effort," trainer David Carroll said. "She was squeezed at the start and really kicked hard the last eighth. Considering the trip, I thought she was much the best even though she only won by a half length."

Carroll said that Lenatareese is tiny but athletic. Four races in less than three months prompted the 72-day layoff she returns from in the Pebbles.

"She filled out a little over the winter, but started to lighten up after her races earlier this year," Carroll said. "I wanted to have a fresh horse for the fall and thought it was a good time to give her a little break."

Trainer Heriberto "Ocala" Cedano, a longtime assistant to the late Hall of Fame trainer Phil Johnson, sends out Fortunate Damsel, who was third in the Saratoga's Lake George and Lake Placid (both gr. IIIT). Fortunate Damsel will race without the blinkers she has worn in her last eight starts. She wound up on the lead through the early stages of the Lake Placid. Cedano believes the Runaway Groom filly is better when she settles with horses in front of her.

"She's was too sharp in the Lake Placid," Cedano said. "I've been working her without the blinkers and she works much better without them. She's training really well. I gave her plenty of time after the Lake Placid."

Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel will go for an unprecedented third straight Pebbles win with Venturi, the 121-pound. Frankel won the last two runnings with Glia and Betty's Wish and

Owner Edmund Gann privately purchased Venturi, a British-bred daughter of Danehill Dancer, after she won two of three starts in Ireland last year. She ran well to finish second in the Lake George, which was her first start of the season.

$100,000-added Pebbles Handicap, (gr. IIIT), 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/8 miles (turf)
1. Sabellina, Joe Aquilino, Jorge Chavez, 119
2. Right this Way, Barclay Tagg, Jose Espinoza, 117
3. Venturi, Bobby Frankel, John Velazquez, 121
4. Go Robin, Mark Hennig, Joe Bravo, 117
5. Delta Sensation, Frank Alexander, Cornelio Velasquez, 119
6. Tigi, Pat Kelly, Shaun Bridgmohan, 115
7. Serendipitous, James Bond, Edgar Prado, 119
8. Fortunate Damsel, Heriberto Cedano, Javier Castellano, 119
9. Lenatareese, David Carroll, Brice Blanc, 119