11/24/2009 1:00AM

Albertus Maximus works for return


MIAMI - Albertus Maximus, who went to the sidelines due to a tendon injury following his sixth-place finish in the Dubai World Cup on March 29, is back on the work tab. Albertus Maximus breezed an easy three furlongs in 40.20 seconds over the turf at Palm Meadows on Monday, his second work since embarking on the comeback trail.

"He's been back in training for a few months," said Kiaran McLaughlin, who trains Albertus Maximus for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rasheed al-Maktoum. "This was his second work. Both works have been on the turf, even though he's not a turf horse. We've done that because it's a firm course and he had a tendon issue."

Albertus Maximus, who won the 2008 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile and 2009 Grade 1 Donn Handicap, has a long way to go before he returns to the races, McLaughlin said.

"It was kind of weird that he got injured like that, because he was always such a sound horse," McLaughlin said. "He obviously did it during the race. The injured area looks great, and he's done very well since we've put him back in training. Right now, the plan is to keep working him weekly and hope we can make a race at Gulfstream with him in January or February. Bringing him back in the Donn is not out of the question. The date is Feb. 6 and we've got it on the radar screen. But it's just too far out to think seriously about at the moment. The same goes with taking him back to Dubai again next spring. Obviously, we'd love to, but it's a real longshot at best."

Sprint tops track's holiday card

Calder will again offer its traditional Thanksgiving Day program on Thursday morning, with post time, as usual, advanced to 11 a.m. Unlike past seasons, however, the track will offer only an eight-race card in keeping with the racing schedule that has existed throughout the 2009 meet.

Although there is no stakes on the holiday card, the featured seventh race is a good one. A seven-furlong dash to be decided under high-priced optional claiming conditions, the headliner lured a field of eight topped by Make Me Zach, Post Time, Caixa Eletronica, and Lemon Spice.

Make Me Zach, who races as an entry for trainer Barry Rose along with stablemate Rexson's Rose, returned from a brief foray up north to finish fourth behind Hypocrite under money-allowance conditions here last month. Make Me Zach finished third in Monmouth Park's Icecapade Stakes on Sept. 7.

Post Time has captured three of his last five starts, including slightly softer optional claiming and allowance races at 6 1/2 furlongs and one mile. He is one of several members of this lineup who is at his best when on or with the lead.

Caixa Eletronica is a seven-furlong specialist, having won seven of his nine starts at the distance, including a $16,000 starter allowance race by eight lengths on Oct. 10.

Lemon Spice makes his local debut and second start since being transferred from trainer Dallas Stewart to Bennie Stutts Jr. earlier this year. Lemon Spice's major claim to fame was serving as the rabbit for stablemate Macho Again in the 2008 Derby Trial. Lemon Spice contested a rapid pace that afternoon, retreating through the field as Macho Again rallied to a half-length decision that afternoon over Kodiak Kowboy.

Jockey standings tight at top

The three leaders in the predictably exciting race for leading jockey honors during the Tropical at Calder meet continue to flip flop. After starting the past week in third place, Eibar Coa parlayed consecutive hat tricks Saturday and Sunday to move back atop the standings with 30 victories entering the Thanksgiving Day program. Manoel Cruz remained one behind the leader following a four-bagger of his own on Sunday, while apprentice Luis Saez, who began the week on top, fell two back with 28 winners through Sunday.

Saez took off his final three mounts Sunday after banging his ankle prior to the start of the sixth race. Saez was scheduled to ride first-time starter No Argument, who was scratched, according to the stewards, at the behest of trainer David Vivian after Saez took off the horse.

Saez was scheduled to be back in action Thursday.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman