03/25/2011 4:32PM

Aqueduct: Arthur's Tale sets sights on Wood after win


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – With fourth-place finishes in both the Count Fleet and Whirlaway Stakes, Arthur’s Tale didn’t quite live up to expectations this winter in New York. But after a narrow victory in a first-level allowance race here Wednesday, he may just be given the chance to prove himself in a big spot.

Arthur’s Tale, a son of Bernardini who was purchased for $750,000 by Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Stable, is being considered for a start in the $1 million Wood Memorial here April 9, according to trainer Tom Albertrani.

“We always had high expectations for that horse, I don’t know if the inner track agreed with him,” Albertrani said. “He wants to go on and run long. We might look at the Wood with him. Depends how he comes out of it, and depends how the race is going to shape up. We know we’re going against Uncle Mo, but if we think we have a shot for second money or a placing, we might take a shot.”

Albertrani noted that he and Live Oak Plantation sent out Gallant Dreams to a third-place finish against Uncle Mo in the Timely Writer Stakes at Gulfstream on March 12. Gallant Dreams, a son of Bernardini, hadn’t run since winning a maiden race last September at Belmont.

In addition to Uncle Mo, those under consideration for the Wood include the Grade 1 winner Jaycito, Gotham second- and third-place finishers Norman Asbjornson and Toby’s Corner, and recent starter allowance winner Isn’t He Perfect.

Arthur’s Tale, who is out of the graded turf stakes winning mare Owsley, won a maiden race in his fourth start. That victory came in an off-the-turf, one-mile race around two turns over the inner track on Dec. 2. Albertrani kept Arthur’s Tale in New York for the winter, where he disappointed in the Count Fleet and Whirlaway.

“He’d always feel like he was going to make a big run and right before the final turn he’d lose momentum,” Albertrani said. “Then in the stretch he’d pick it up again. Maybe the tight turns weren’t to his liking. He’s a big, leggy kind of horse who might do better on a track like Belmont.”

Albertrani thought he saw a different horse Wednesday, when he rallied to beat Simba’s Story by a neck under Chuck Lopez. He earned an 82 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort.

“It always looked like he was taking Chucky there, always was on the bit,” Albertani said. “Hopefully, we’ll see how much further up the ladder we can take him.”

More Bernardini offspring to watch

Arthur’s Tale is not the only 3-year-old offspring of Bernardini who took a while to get a hang of the game.

In a span of 11 days (March 9-19), trainer Kiaran McLaughlin had three sons of Bernardini win maiden races over the inner track. On March 9, Iscar, in his third start over the inner, won by 3 1/2 lengths. On March 16, Opening Move won a maiden race by 5 1/2 lengths in his fourth career start, first over the inner. On March 19, Eltheeb won a mile and 70-yard maiden race by 4 3/4 lengths.

The problem McLaughlin and his staff now face is finding spots for all three of these colts. First-level allowance races are not readily available on this circuit.

“We’d like to keep ’em apart as much as we can, but if we have to run two together we will,” said Art Magnuson, assistant to McLaughlin. “Iscar and Eltheeb we want to keep long. Opening Move is fine where he’s at [sprinting], but there is some talk about stretching him out or trying the turf at some point. We don’t want to be too clever.”

One possible spot for Opening Move could be the Grade 3, $200,000 Bay Shore here April 9 at seven furlongs. Darley, which owns Opening Move and Iscar, had been pointing Fort Hughes to that race before that colt suffered a fatal injury in a workout at Belmont Park.

Dr Disco could try Bay Shore

The New York-bred Dr Disco could take on open company in the Bay Shore Stakes, trainer Bruce Brown said Friday.

Dr Disco improved his record to 3 for 5 with a sold two-length victory against older horses in a New York-bred second-level allowance race here March 17. He ran six furlongs in 1:10.24 and earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 87.

Brown said he would look at both the Bay Shore and an overnight stakes for New York-breds going one mile the day after the Bay Shore.

Brown said the Bay Shore would be tempting, if the field came up light. He added that the one-turn mile of the New York-bred stakes also is intriguing to him.

“We’ve been wanting to stretch him out, and a mile on the outer track might be a good place for him,” said Brown, who has won seven races since March 17 to move into third place in the trainer standings with 27 wins. “I think he could be a nice horse; he’s still learning. He comes out of his races a little better each time.”

Brown said that jockey Mike Luzzi told him he thinks the horse would like to run a little longer than the six furlongs he’s run at for four of his five career starts.

“He seems to think he might be better if you don’t have to run him so much where you can sit on him and let him run against the bit,” Brown said.

◗ Racing shifts to the main track beginning Wednesday. The first card on the outer track includes five maiden claiming events.