11/14/2007 12:00AM

A barn resolved to doing it right

EmailDon't look now, but Greg Gilchrist and Harry Aleo have themselves another hot number. Her name is High Resolve, and she was pushed out of her San Francisco nest last weekend to win the Joe O'Farrell Juvenile Fillies Stakes at Calder with a wire-to-wire performance that left the opposition dizzy.

"It would have been easier and less expensive to run in the Mocassin at Hollywood Park the same weekend, but it probably would have been a tougher race, and for $50,000 less," Gilchrist said. "Sometimes in this business, the easiest thing to do is not always the best thing to do.

"I figured that if we had a good filly, we'd find out a few things sending her to Florida. We'd find out if she could handle the stress of shipping, go to a new racetrack, settle in, eat, and do the things a good horse has to do. If she couldn't, then we'd just start looking forward to Santa Rosa next year."

Sorry, wine country, but it looks like there will be no Santa Rosa fair in High Resolve's future. She shipped like a champ, ate every oat, and took to the quirky Calder surface as if she had been there all her life. Now 3 for 3, High Resolve will be locked and loaded for the $250,000 Sunshine Millions Oaks at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26, a race that requires only six furlongs.

That's fine with Gilchrist for now. High Resolve is not pretending to be the next Rags to Riches.

"I'd like to keep her at seven furlongs," Gilchrist said. "But anywhere past a mile would probably be out of her range."

This was the same line Gilchrist maintained back in the early days of the Lost in the Fog phenomenon, when the talented young colt was slapping his opposition silly and sending the speed figure guys into girlish swoons. There was the predictable clamor urging Gilchrist and Aleo to put their colt on the Kentucky Derby fast track, but they resisted. Their reward was Lost in the Fog's Eclipse Award as sprint champion of 2005.

The owner and trainer had a shot at the same title this year with Smokey Stover, who went off as the second choice in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Monmouth Park. Alas, Smokey was among the many who could not cope with the terrible track conditions that day and trailed home far behind favored Midnight Lute.

"I'm guessing that probably a lot of people gave their jockeys the same instructions I did that day," Gilchrist said. "If he's handling it, go on and get what you can. If he's not, just bring back my horse.

"I think probably we didn't get a true indication of all of the talent that was there - and I'm not just talking about my horse," Gilchrist added. "But you know what? That's also what makes champions. They suck it up and overcome things."

Gilchrist maintains a similar attitude despite the roller-coaster nature of the job. The Breeders' Cup is ancient history now - Smokey Stover is headed to a Northern California farm for a break - just as High Resolve has stepped up to keep things interesting. And the barn rolls on. Last Thursday, at Hollywood Park, another Gilchrist-Aleo raiding party struck with the 3-year-old filly Wild Promises in the feature event of the day.

The following afternoon, Gilchrist saw his name splashed around the racing media as the subject of a racing board complaint for a procaine positive from the postrace test sample of a horse named Yodelay You're Who, who won at Bay Meadows on Sept. 26. The presence of procaine, an anesthetic as well as a substance found in penicillin antibiotics, rates as a Class 3 violation.

Those familiar with the Gilchrist record had to laugh. Vets have been known to starve waiting for his business. According to the California Horse Racing Board's computerized records, which date back to 1985, Gilchrist has come to the attention of the authorities just nine times, including three simple warnings for an excess of Butazolidin (the equivalent of attempted jaywalking). The last time he was cited with a medication violation was in July of 1995, when he was fined $300 for excess bute.

"Well, now, that was the last time they caught me," Gilchrist deadpanned. "When I bet my money, I give 'em extra bute. That'll do it. Probably the real felons are just laughing at me. 'This guy's a real minor-leaguer.' "

Don't look for Greg Gilchrist to hire a lawyer and drag this one out. He traced the procaine positive to a mixup in post-surgical antibiotics given two chestnuts in the barn who were both gelded during the same period of time. According to the trainer, Yodelay You're Who got his last dose when it should have gone to the other horse, named Panamanian Playboy. Yodelay You're Who then competed before the drug had cleared his system.

"I've already told the stewards they're about to ruin our Christmas," Gilchrist said. "No tree, no presents. Just down to the bus station to look for change in the cushions."

As it turned out, Gilchrist couldn't win this one no matter what. Gelding a horse named Panamanian Playboy got him almost as much grief.

"The owner was very upset," Gilchrist said. "Especially since he named the horse after himself."