01/18/2007 12:00AM

Big plans for Tiz Wonderful, Zanjero


NEW ORLEANS - The Grade 3 Risen Star at Fair Grounds is only three weeks away and plans for Triple Crown candidates are being mapped out. Steve Asmussen has several candidates in the wings and is looking forward to running them in the classics.

Asmussen's most accomplished 3-year-olds are Tiz Wonderful and Zanjero. Tiz Wonderful is undefeated in three starts, including the Grade 3 Iroquois and Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at the Churchill Downs fall meet. The 101 Beyer Speed Figure he earned winning the KJC was the fourth-highest by a 2-year-old last year.

Zanjero won a Keeneland maiden race and a Churchill allowance last fall before finishing second to Nobiz Like Shobiz in the Grade 2 Remsen in his last start.

"With the group of horses we have I'll be very disappointed if we don't compete," Asmussen said of the Triple Crown races.

Both Tiz Wonderful and Zanjero are in training at Fair Grounds, although Tiz Wonderful has yet to appear on the work tab. Asmussen is still taking stock of their development.

"Hopefully, one of them will run in the Risen Star," he said. "I can't really say which one it will be yet."

The Triple Crown races are a key objective in Asmussen's program.

"Good horses cost what they do because of that opportunity," he said. "Young horses don't all have to win the Derby, but I think that level, that caliber of a race, is what makes everything cost so much."

Power Surge, Hallway top Gentilly

Seven Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds will contest Saturday's $75,000 Gentilly Stakes, the co-feature on a card topped by the Truly Bound Handicap. Power Surge, second to Tortuga Straits in the $100,000 Louisiana Juvenile on Champions Day, is the leading money winner in the field with a bankroll of $104,500. The Bret Calhoun-trained gelding has tactical speed and should be a pace factor from his rail position.

Hallway finished third behind Power Surge in the Juvenile, beaten only two lengths, then returned to run second to Connor's Call in the Louisiana Futurity. A son of Graeme Hall, Hallway is coming to hand for Steve Asmussen and could give Power Surge a tougher challenge here.

Mr. Porter beat Hallway in an allowance race, then finished up the track in the Juvenile. Forgotton Prince is coming off of a pair of victories over the track. Run Over Me Rade finished third in Mr. Porter's allowance win.

Royal Copenhagen breaks through

Royal Copenhagen looked good winning on the Fair Grounds turf last Sunday, breaking a more than year-long winless streak. The race was Royal Copenhagen's first for trainer Richie Scherer, who trains the French import for Richard Duchossois.

"She's been running against tougher competition, of course," said Scherer, "but on paper she was supposed to win that race. She broke slow and was wide, though, and she put in a powerful performance. I'm impressed with the way she ran coming off a layoff. I have a little better understanding of how to train her now."

Royal Copenhagen's last win came in the Grade 3 Pucker Up at Arlington Park in September of 2005. Last year she ran in five graded stakes races, all for trainer Laura De Seroux, including the Grade 1 Beverly D., then was moved to trainer Chris Block's barn in Chicago.

Royal Copenhagen ran third in the Grade 3 Cardinal Handicap at Churchill Downs before Block sent her to winter at the Fair Grounds under the care of Scherer.

"We're looking at the Bayou Breeders' Cup next," said Scherer. "She's a graded stakes winner, so she should fit that race, although of course that will be a more difficult field to beat. She came out of the last race well both mentally and physically."