06/22/2004 11:00PM

Aeneas tries to end long losing streak


MIAMI - Aeneas was one of the most talented and richest horses not to win a race in 2003. A son of Capote, Aeneas earned $336,000 despite going winless in nine starts last season, padding his bankroll by placing in four Grade 2 races as well as the Grade 3 Iselin Breeders' Cup.

Now trainer Marty Wolfson needs to get Aeneas back on the winning track. His quest begins here Friday in a $36,000 optional claiming race that looks like a good place for Aeneas to get his first win since Dec. 31, 2002.

"It's time to get him going again, and this looks like the perfect spot," said Wolfson, who trains Aeneas for owner-breeders Ed and Patricia Pavlish. "He should be able to win this race even if he's not 100-percent fit, and his last two works indicate he's ready to go."

Aeneas has not started since finishing third in a tougher optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park on Jan 18. In his last local appearance, in December, Aeneas finished fourth as the even-money favorite in the Grade 3 Fred Hooper Handicap.

"He strained a suspensory in his last race," Wolfson said. "He really had a problem since the Clark [last November], and I probably shouldn't have run him in either of his last two starts."

Aeneas turned in one of his best performances of 2003 in the Grade 2 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs. Rallying from far back, he finished third behind Evening Attire and Quest despite getting hung out extremely wide over a sloppy track. Aeneas also finished second in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park and Washington Park handicaps and third in the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup last year.

Aeneas will face just five rivals in his comeback Friday. The field includes the multiple stakes winners Dancing Guy and Lawbook, along with Dustys Birthday, Admiral Lance, and Barnacle Steve.

Chatter Chatter targets Azalea

Wolfson is having a big week, with wins in last Saturday's Unbridled Handicap with Mister Fotis and Tuesday's Solo Haina Stakes with Pampered Princess. He is also preparing Chatter Chatter, his top 3-year-old filly, for her 2004 debut, which is likely to come in the $300,000 Azalea Breeders' Cup Stakes on July 10.

Chatter Chatter captured the My Dear Girl Stakes, the final leg of the Florida Stallion Stakes, by 19 lengths, but she has been idle since finishing far back as the odds-on favorite in the Three Ring Stakes on Dec. 13.

"We took a chip out of her knee after the Three Ring," said Wolfson. "The six furlongs of the Azalea is not really her distance, and it will be a tough race. But her first race is usually her strongest, and it looks like as good a place as any to come back in."

Yes It's Gold to race for new owners

Yes It's Gold will likely go off as the favorite in Saturday's $100,000 J J'sdream Stakes. She'll also be running for new owners and a new trainer in the season's first local stakes for 2-year-old fillies. She was recently purchased privately by the Heiligbrodt Stable and Walter "Buddy" New and turned over to trainer David Fawkes.

Yes It's Gold won her only previous start, a 4 1/2-furlong maiden allowance dash, by 14 1/4 lengths. She covered the distance in 52.60 seconds and earned an 85 Beyer Speed Figure. She was owned by her breeder Luann Baker and trained by David Braddy for her debut.

Fawkes previously trained Forty One Carats, a local favorite and multiple stakes winner, for the partnership of Heiligbrodt and New.

A field of nine juvenile fillies was drawn for the J J'sdream. The group includes three other undefeated youngsters: Leona's Knight, Tricky Ridge, and Aclassysassylassy.

Fawkes will also have one of the favorites for the $100,000 Mecke Handicap on July 4 when he sends out Twilight Road. A 7-year-old gelding, Twilight Road is coming off one of the best efforts of his career, a five-length victory in the Grade 3 Memorial Day Handicap. The win was his first around two turns. The Mecke is carded at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

"I plan to run him on turf or dirt," said Fawkes.

Twilight Road has started only once on grass, finishing sixth against allowance company going a mile last fall over the Churchill Downs turf course.

* Emanuel Cosme, one of the top apprentice riders here during the opening two months of the current session, packed his tack and headed for Arlington Park at the conclusion of Tuesday's program. Cosme will have his engagements handled in Chicago by former jockey Randy Romero.