09/02/2008 11:00PM

Back to drawing board for Golden Spikes


MIAMI - Trainer Marty Wolfson is still trying to get over the disappointment of Golden Spikes's performance in the King's Bishop Stakes at Saratoga on Travers Day, Aug. 23.

Golden Spikes stopped badly after surprisingly getting involved in a suicidal speed, which compromised the chances of all four horses battling for the lead in the Grade 1 King's Bishop. The early tussle set up the last-to-first victory of runaway winner Visionaire.

"Elvis said he just couldn't hold him," said Wolfson, referring to jockey Elvis Trujillo. "After the first quarter-mile I knew we were done. I've spent the last six months teaching him how to sit behind horses so when he's ready to go the rider pushes the button and he goes. And then that happened. The good news is he came out of the race fine so we'll just regroup and try to find him another race."

Among the possibilities, Wolfson said, are the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Sprint, a six-furlong race at Turfway Park on Sept. 27, or the Grade 2 Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park, a 1o1/16-mile race the following weekend.

"The problem with the race in Kentucky is that the purse is only $100,000 and that's not enough money to warrant shipping him out of town to run on Polytrack," said Wolfson. "I'm certainly not averse to stretching him back out around two turns in the right spot, and I'm already planning to run Shes All Eltish in the Indiana Oaks the same night as the Indiana Derby."

Golden Spikes had won his two starts prior to the King's Bishop, including Calder's Grade 2 Carry Back.

Rockerfeller sharp now

Wolfson is hoping he'll have better luck when he returns to New York later this month with the vastly improved Rockerfeller, who has sandwiched a pair of easy stakes wins around a third-place finish behind the retired Benny the Bull in the Grade 2 Smile Stakes. Wolfson worked Rockerfeller an easy half-mile in 48 seconds here Monday and is pointing him for the Grade 1 Vosburgh Sept. 27 at Belmont. Rockerfeller hasn't raced since winning the Teddy Drone at Monmouth on Aug. 3.

"The time in between starts has done him a world of good and he's very fresh right now," Wolfson said.

Wolfson is also confident his top juvenile prospect You Luckie Mann will bounce back with a big effort in Saturday's $150,000 Affirmed Stakes after finishing third following a troubled start as the 3-5 favorite in the Dr. Fager Stakes three weeks earlier.

"He got a little antsy, hit the side of the gate, then had the 9 and 11 horses come over on him after the start to make matters even worse the last time," said Wolfson. "Considering all that happened, I was happy he ran third."

Affirmed, Susan's Girl come up light

The Affirmed and its filly counterpart, the $150,000 Susan's Girl Stakes, highlight Saturday's all 2-year-old Juvenile Showcase program. The fields for the Affirmed and Susan's Girl, the seven-furlong middle legs of the Florida Stallion Stakes series, came up light, with the Affirmed attracting only eight starters, including Big Drama and Bee Cee, the first two finishers in the Dr. Fager.

The Susan's Girl attracted seven fillies, led by La Chica Sensual, the runaway winner of the Desert Vixen Stakes three weeks earlier. The field also includes two maidens, Aroma de Mujer and Cinque Bella.

Maiden Sincero goes in Affirmed

Trainer Manny Azpurua, who swept the open division of the Stallion Series in 2003 with Sir Oscar, has entered a first-time starter, Sincero, in the Affirmed.

Sincero, a son of Repent, brought $82,000 as a yearling at the 2007 August Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s sale. He had his final tune-up for the imposing assignment on Tuesday, working three furlongs from the gate in 36.15 seconds and galloping out a half-mile in 49.40.

Cigar Man on the rebound

Cigar Man has returned home to Calder after the spending the summer in the Midwest with trainer Ronny Werner. One of the most highly regarded 2-year-olds here at the end of the 2007 campaign, Cigar Man will attempt to get back on the winning track in Friday's sixth race, one of four entry-level allowance races on the card, which begins at 2:55 p.m.

Cigar Man, runner-up in the 2007 In Reality Stakes, earned a 90 Beyer Speed Figure winning his maiden here by 10 lengths to close out his juvenile campaign. But the son of Drewman has gone winless and even failed to hit the board in seven subsequent starts, the last three after joining Werner's stable late this spring.

Cigar Man, who began his career with trainer Kathleen O'Connell, is back in familiar surroundings with O'Connell and figures to be among the choices Friday in a field that also includes Halo's Who, Neveri, and Caixa Eletronica.

Paco Lopez riding high

Apprentice Paco Lopez continues to dominate the rider standings. He had four consecutive three-win days from Thursday through Sunday, then capped his outstanding week by riding four winners on Monday's Labor Day card.

Lopez has won 127 races at the meet; Manoel Cruz is next with 88. Lopez leads all apprentice riders nationwide this year with 162 victories.

The combination of jockey Percival Williams and trainer Crafton DeSouza surprisingly stopped the Lopez express at least momentarily when the longshot Jean de Actress ran down Lopez and Clever Dame in Monday's 10th race.

The victory was the first of the year for both DeSouza and his 8-year-old mare, and only the second from 46 mounts in 2008 for Williams.