10/24/2006 11:00PM

Bernardini, Discreet Cat both work


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - At 8:50 Wednesday morning, Bernardini and Discreet Cat simultaneously walked onto the Belmont Park main track preparing to work out. Unfortunately for racing fans, that's as close as the two will get to each other in the next 10 days.

Although the undefeated Discreet Cat and the multiple Grade 1 winner Bernardini were both pre-entered for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, to be run Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs, only one of the two will run. The only way Discreet Cat runs in the Classic is if Bernardini can't make the race. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum owns both colts. Discreet Cat runs under Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin banner, while Bernardini runs under his Darley Stable moniker.

Provided Bernardini makes the Classic, Discreet Cat will start in the Grade 1, $300,000 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct on Nov. 25 as has been the plan since his monster win in the Jerome Handicap on Oct. 1.

Though the two colts came on the track at the same time, Bernardini was the first to work. With exercise rider Simon Harris in the irons, Bernardini went five furlongs in 1:02.40 while galloping out six furlongs in 1:15 and pulling up seven furlongs in 1:28.80. Bernardini covered his final quarter-mile in 23.43 seconds. His five-furlong clocking was the fastest of 13 at the distance.

Wednesday's work was the most serious move Bernardini will have between his victory in the Jockey Club Gold Cup on Oct. 7 and the Classic. Last week, Bernardini went five furlongs in 1:04.67, and he will have his final breeze on Tuesday at Belmont before shipping to Churchill Downs on Wednesday.

"I wanted him to get a little bit more out of the work than last time," Albertrani said. "Last time was his first work since the race, and we weren't looking to do much with him that day. . . . Today's work was more what we're looking to see him do, and it was a perfect work."

While Bernardini was walking back after his work, Discreet Cat was galloping around the clubhouse turn, getting ready for his five-furlong move. Discreet Cat went in fractions of 13.18 seconds, 25.54, 37.73, and got his last quarter in 24.80 for a final time of 1:02.53.

Last week, in his first work since winning the Jerome by 10 1/4 lengths, Discreet Cat went four furlongs in 47.40 seconds, and Rick Mettee, who oversees Godolphin's New York-based string, was looking to slow him down.

"He went a little quick the other day, so we made a conscious effort to try and get him slowed down," Mettee said. "More than likely he doesn't run for another 30 days from today, he'll have plenty of time to pick it up again."

Mettee said that despite the slower move, he could have Discreet Cat ready to go in the Classic should Bernardini be forced to miss the race for some reason.

"I wouldn't hesitate to come back in four days and do a strong piece of work if we had to if, God forbid, something happened to Bernardini," Mettee said.

Afrashad heads Sport Page

Godolphin and Mettee will have a major player in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Sport Page Handicap when they attempt to stretch Afrashad out to seven furlongs.

Afrashad, a son of Smoke Glacken, has won 3 of 4 starts this year, all at six furlongs, and was very impressive winning a third-level allowance race at Belmont on Sept. 14. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 111.

"Timing is right for the race; he ran a big race, he's had time," Mettee said. "He couldn't have trained any better than he has the last couple of weeks."

Afrashad is a speed horse, and there appears to be plenty of other speed types in the Sport Page, including Bishop Court Hill, who won the Grade 1 Carter over this track in April, and P. Kerney, a Maryland-based horse who has won 8 of 21 lifetime starts. Others expected to run include Blazing Purrsuit, Kazoo, Silver Wagon, and Sir Greeley.

Songster will not run, according to trainer Tom Albertrani. Songster has been shipped to Florida and is likely to be freshened up for a 2007 campaign that could start in the Sunshine Millions Sprint at Santa Anita in January.

Jersey virus affects Big A

Fears surrounding the discovery of equine herpesvirus at Monmouth Park will have a significant impact on New York racing. On Wednesday, opening day at Aqueduct, six horses that were based at Monmouth Park were forced to scratch.

Several Monmouth-based horses were being pointed to stakes here this weekend, and it is uncertain if they will be permitted to run.

On Wednesday, Monmouth confirmed that four horses tested positive for the highly contagious disease. As of Wednesday, NYRA was not allowing any Jersey-based horses to run at Aqueduct.

Joe Orseno, whose stable is based at Monmouth, was planning to send Career Oriented for Saturday's $150,000 First Flight Handicap, Senor Swinger for Saturday's $100,000 Knickerbocker Handicap, and Reata's Rocket for Sunday's $100,000 Nashua Stakes.

"We're just going to have to tough it out," Orseno said Wednesday. "You can't really say it's anybody's fault; it's an unfortunate situation that we're just going to have to deal with. If I can't come over and run, I'm not happy about it, but I certainly understand."

Orseno had to scratch Mattingly out of Thursday's first race.

Other horses based at Monmouth that were pointing to weekend stakes here are Spring House (Knickerbocker), My Golden Quest (Tempted), and Frisk Her (Tempted).

Great Intentions looks to repeat

Great Intentions, who won the Grade 2 First Flight Handicap last year at Belmont, will seek to repeat when the race is run here on Saturday. The $150,000 First Flight is run at seven furlongs.

Great Intentions, trained by Mike Hushion, will be running back just 20 days after winning the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont. Hushion also plans to run Madame Diva. Others pointing to the First Flight are Splendid Blended, Miss Elsie, Carmandia, and Win McCool. Allen Jerkens is expected to run either Swap Fliparoo or Grecian Lover.

Cutback should help Callmetony

It's only a sixteenth of a mile, but it could make all the difference for Callemetony in Friday's third-level allowance feature at Aqueduct.

In his last start, Callmetony was beaten two lengths by Mr. Whitestone going 6 1/2 furlongs. Friday, he cuts back to six furlongs, a distance at which he has 5 of his 7 career victories.

Callmetony drew the outside and could be the main speed under Eibar Coa.

Will He Shine comes in off a big second-level allowance win at Belmont 22 days earlier. Wild Nature scratched out of a similar spot as this last week when the track came up wet. Dashboard Drummer and First Word complete the field.