04/22/2010 11:00PM

Bella Diamante works for Kentucky Oaks


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Bella Diamante worked a bullet five-eighths in 58 seconds Friday morning at Lone Star Park in preparation for next Friday's Kentucky Oaks. She was to van to Churchill Downs on Saturday, said her trainer, Allen Milligan.

Mike Smith will have the mount on Bella Diamante, who in December was second to leading Oaks candidate Quiet Temper in the $500,000 Delta Princess at Delta Downs.

Bella Diamante won a first-level allowance sprint in hand at Oaklawn in her last start April 2. She worked by herself Friday morning, under jockey Martin Escobar. Milligan said she galloped out six furlongs in 1:11.80.

"We're getting ready for the Oaks," he said. "I told Martin if she's going to run up there we needed a good work in her, and she just leveled off and finished strong.

"She's going to have to run against the big girls."

Bella Diamante has run second in three two-turn stakes, and had trouble in each of them, according to Milligan.

In the Delta Princess, she finished seven lengths behind eventual Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks winner Quiet Temper.

"She was sawed off in the first turn and I was just happy she got up for second," Milligan said. "I'm not saying we would have outrun Quiet Temper, but we would have made it closer.

"She really should have already won two stakes with any luck. She shows up and runs every time."

Bella Diamante earned $100,000 in the Grade 3 Delta Princess, which assures her a spot in the Kentucky Oaks field if the race overfills. Bella Diamante is a daughter of Lost Soldier and she races for Lone Star Stables.

Taptam's next start up in the air

Taptam, the Texas-bred mare who was second to Zenyatta in the Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn, is now based at Churchill with her next start still being determined, said her trainer, Bret Calhoun.

"I honestly don't have a spot for her," he said. "I'm hoping to find a Grade 3 somewhere."

Taptam had an outstanding meet at Oaklawn, where she won the $73,000 Pippin in January, then an allowance over Grade 2 winner Payton d'Oro. From there, Taptam was entered in the $100,000 Bayakoa, but her connections scratched her in favor of running in the short Apple Blossom field, and she was beaten 4 1/4 lengths by Zenyatta. Taptam earned $100,000 in the Apple Blossom, more than the $60,000 she would have pocketed by winning the Bayakoa two days earlier.

Taptam, who is a stakes winner at Lone Star, could see action here later in the meet. Calhoun said she would be considered for a start in the $75,000 Assault, a 1 1/16-mile race for Texas-breds on July 10 in which she would take on males.

Chief of Affairs may head to Pimlico

Another Texas-bred who made noise for Calhoun during the Oaklawn meet was Chief of Affairs. He put up two of the year's highest sprint Beyer Figures, earning a 106 for an allowance score in March, then a 105 for finishing second by a neck in the Grade 3, $150,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap.

"It was a tough beat," Calhoun said of the Count Fleet.

Chief of Affairs was in control of the race from the start and was caught at the wire by Custom for Carlos.

Chief of Affairs won his debut last year at Lone Star with a Beyer Figure of 100.

Calhoun said Chief of Affairs could make his next start in the Grade 3, $100,000 Maryland Sprint Handicap at six furlongs at Pimlico on Preakness Day. The other option is the $75,000 James Whitcomb Riley at Indiana Downs on May 12.

Taptam and Chief of Affairs both race for Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch.

Fox fractures vertebra

Apprentice Kris Fox, who went down in a one-horse spill Thursday night, has been diagnosed with a fractured T-6 vertebra in the spine area of his upper back and was to see a specialist on Friday, said his agent, Travis Church.

Fox, who is at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, had movement in his hands and legs, said Church. He is out of action indefinitely, while Church is hopeful he could resume riding later in the meet at Lone Star.

* Jockey Aaron Gryder won with his first mount at the meet Thursday night, with Poppin ($3.80) for trainer Steve Asmussen.