01/12/2009 1:00AM

Another good McPeek prospect


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Ken McPeek continued his early domination of the local 3-year-old division when Theregoesjojo easily defeated a strong field of first-level allowance runners going seven furlongs last Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

Theregoesjojo's 2 3/4-length victory over Quality Road and Obligingly came on the heels of victories by the McPeek-trained Free Country and Danger to Society going 1 1/8 miles under similar allowance conditions last Thursday.

Theregoesjojo, a son of Brahms, won his debut going five furlongs at Churchill Downs on May 26 before finishing a troubled fourth as the favorite in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor six weeks later. He did not run again in 2008.

"He had some issues so we stopped on him last summer, but he's always trained like a good horse," said McPeek.

Theregoesjojo did benefit from a suicidal speed duel between Quality Road and Obligingly, who came into the race as two of only 10 juveniles who posted Beyer Speed Figures of 100 or better in 2008. Quality Road was the more highly regarded of the pair after blazing to an easy maiden win at Aqueduct in his lone start at 2. On the strength of that performance, he was ranked second behind only the undefeated Old Fashioned in Daily Racing Form's Watchmaker Watch of leading 3-year-olds.

McPeek said Theregoesjojo has been nominated to the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes on Jan. 31, but is more likely to run in the Fountain of Youth on Feb. 28.

Big Drama sharpens for Holy Bull

The Holy Bull is shaping up as a very strong race. Along with the McPeek-trained Free Country and Danger to Society, the field also figures to include graded stakes winners West Side Bernie and Beethoven with Delta Jackpot winner Big Drama also probable.

Big Drama continues to trained forwardly for his return, working seven furlongs in 1:32 with jockey Eibar Coa aboard Sunday morning at Calder.

"I stretched him out to seven-eighths just to get a little more air in him, but he went easily," said trainer David Fawkes. "In fact, he went off a little too slow, his opening couple of furlongs in 14 and change, but he finished up in 24 and galloped out a mile in 1:44 and a piece, which is fine."

Fawkes said he has no desire to change anything with Big Drama at this time and will continue to prepare him at Calder for his 3-year-old debut.

"If we decide to run him in the Holy Bull then I'll bring him over a couple of days early and gallop him at Gulfstream," said Fawkes. "But he will not work there."

Fawkes has horses stabled at both Calder and Gulfstream this winter.

Well Positioned works fast half-mile

Well Positioned is another highly regarded 3-year-old prospect who is training at Gulfstream this winter. A son of Awesome Again, Well Positioned put himself on the radar in the division following his 14-length maiden win going a mile at Aqueduct on Nov. 22. He is trained by Pat Reynolds for owner Paul Pompa Jr., the same connections who sold Big Brown following his maiden win in 2007.

Well Positioned smoked a half-mile in 46.98 seconds on Sunday, getting the opening quarter in a brisk 23.00.

"It might have been a little faster than I wanted but he's a fast horse and fast horses work fast," said Reynolds. "I put blinkers on him for his last start and I guess it sent a message to him. But I thought he went well, especially since he buck-jumped at the quarter pole and jumped a shadow right at the wire. This work put us in the position to pick up the tempo with him a little, and when he's ready I'll look for an allowance race here at a mile and one-eighth."

Next target for Hey Byrn uncertain

Hey Byrn, among the top 3-year-olds in south Florida a year ago, looked like his old self again when he dominated high-level allowance company on Sunday. The win was the first for Hey Byrn, a son of Put It Back, since his triumph in the Holy Bull here last April.

"It was a very good race and I'm really happy with the performance," said Eddie Plesa Jr. who trains Hey Byrn for Bea Oxenberg. "I'm especially happy for Bea."

The win was the fourth in five starts at Gulfstream for Hey Byrn, whose only other victory came at Calder in the second start of his career.

Hey Byrn could return in either the Sunshine Million Classic on Jan. 24 or the Grade 1 Donn Handicap the following weekend.

"I'm not sure what we'll do next," said Plesa. "Let's just see how he comes out of this one first."

Plesa also trains the red-hot Yesbyjimminy, who worked five furlongs in 1:01.60 at Calder on Monday. Yesbyjimminy is scheduled to put his six-race winning streak on the line a week from Saturday at Santa Anita in the Sunshine Millions Sprint.

Praise for revamped turf course

The local turf course, which underwent considerable renovations in the off season, continues to get plenty of use as well as praise from trainers and jockeys. Three and four races a day have been run over the course since the meet began on Jan. 3.

According to track president Bill Murphy, the turf underwent a process called vertical mulling, a measure designed to soften the course and make for a smoother ride.

Said jockey Edgar Prado: "They've finally got the grass course the way it's supposed to be and it's in top shape. The best thing is the way they have been maintaining the course on a regular basis, walking it every day, filling in all the holes and working very hard to be sure it's safe. That hadn't always been the case in the past."

* Einstein breezed an easy half-mile in 51.15 under trainer Helen Pitts shortly after the renovation break here Monday. Einstein, winner of the Grade 2 Clark Handicap in his 2008 finale, could return in either the Donn or the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf the following day.