08/06/2004 12:00AM

Birdstone strong in Travers work


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - There are 23 3-year-olds entered in a trio of weekend stakes that could produce several starters for the $1 million Travers here Aug. 28. The horse to beat in the Travers, Belmont Stakes winner Birdstone, signaled Friday that he'll be ready to take on all comers after having a strong workout over the Oklahoma training track.

With regular exercise rider Maxine Correa up, Birdstone drilled six furlongs in an official time of 1:16.84. It was the fastest of three moves at the distance.

Birdstone worked six furlongs from the half-mile pole, meaning the breeze went around two turns. Zito said he does that because he doesn't want Birdstone to do too much in his works and because Birdstone will have to go around two turns in the Travers.

Zito watched the work alongside owner Marylou Whitney at the rail near the finish line. After breaking off relatively slowly, Birdstone saw another horse galloping around the turn and began going after it. Correa slapped Birdstone on the shoulder twice as he approached the finish line and Birdstone zipped around the turn and galloped out strong.

"He gives me goose bumps, that horse," Zito said. "That's why I have to space his workouts. Look at the way he does it."

Zito said Birdstone would likely have two more workouts before the Travers.

"One thing is for sure, I've never seen a horse keep his fitness like this horse," Zito said. "People will say, 'Geez he hasn't run in two months.' Wrong, wrong. If we ran him in the Jim Dandy or ran him in the Haskell, he'd run his guts out and he'd never have a shot in the Travers. If I do it this way, he'll have a good chance."

Bailey breaks Cordero's Spa mark

There's a new king of Saratoga. His name is Jerry Bailey.

When Bailey guided Taittinger Rose to victory in Friday's third race, it was his 641st career victory at Saratoga. That surpassed the mark of 640 set by Angel Cordero Jr., who won 11 consecutive riding titles here from 1976-85 and 14 titles overall.

The record is based on research conducted by the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame and dates back to 1930. Saratoga opened in 1863.

"I don't know exactly what it means at this point," said Bailey, who began riding here in 1982. "I'm sure two, three, or four years from now it'll sink in a little bit more. I know one thing, Angel was probably the best rider I rode with day in, day out. It's quite a compliment to be able to top what he did, because as good as he was everywhere else, he was that much better and that much tougher to beat here."

Bailey, who has won seven Saratoga riding titles, won three races on Friday's card and finished the day with 642 career victories.

If there is someone who could eventually pass Bailey, it would be John Velazquez. At 32, Velazquez has already recorded 341 victories through Friday.

Icy Atlantic eyes Hall of Fame

Icy Atlantic is officially 2 for 4 on turf, but trainer Todd Pletcher said he could just as easily be 4 for 4.

Icy Atlantic was beaten a nose by Timo in the Grade 3 Kent Breeders' Cup and was disqualified from a nose victory in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Belmont in his last start.

Icy Atlantic will try to turn around his tough luck Monday, when he runs in the Grade 2, $150,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes.

"When you look at his record he's inches away from being undefeated, yet he's only won one stakes," Pletcher said. "He's still a work in progress. He's shown a lot of ability, but he's still learning how to run. I still feel like he'd be better in a situation where there's more pace in the race and he'd have a target to run at."

Unfortunately for Pletcher, Icy Atlantic may be the main speed of the Hall of Fame Stakes. The only other speed expected is Second Performance, whom Icy Atlantic ran with early in the Lexington.

Others expected to run include probable favorite Artie Schiller, Dealer Choice, Good Reward, Mustanfar, and Street Theatre. Preachinatthebar is possible.

Roar Emotion works toward Personal Ensign

Roar Emotion, the runner-up to Summer Wind Dancer in the Delaware Handicap on July 18, breezed four furlongs in 46.87 seconds Friday morning over the main track. It was the fastest of 53 works at the distance.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said he is pointing Roar Emotion to the Personal Ensign, but said he would keep a careful eye on the race before committing to it.

"If the race comes up Sightseek, Azeri, plus [Storm Flag Flying], plus the filly from California [Summer Wind Dancer], we might opt to go elsewhere," McLaughlin said.

Roar Emotion has lost five consecutive races since taking the Grade 3 Sabin Handicap at Gulfstream in February.

McGaughey filly breaks down

Allamanda, a 3-year-old unraced filly trained by Shug McGaughey, broke down during a workout over the main track and had to be euthanized. According to McGaughey, Allamanda broke a cannon bone.

Allamanda was a daughter of A.P. Indy out of the Grade 1-winning mare Aldiza. She was bred and owned by Helen Alexander and Helen Groves. Allamanda was working from the gate in preparation for her expected debut later this meet.

* Two-time Eclipse Award-winning photographer Michael J. Marten, whose work appears in Daily Racing Form, will present "Digital on Canvas," a display of his photographs, Sunday night after the races at Beverly's Restaurant, 47 Phila Street, Saratoga Springs.

Marten's photographs will be on display at Beverly's and Siro's for the remainder of the meet.

* Funny Cide breezed six furlongs in 1:12.51 over Saratoga's main track Friday as he continues to prepare for the Grade 2, $250,000 Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap on Aug. 22. Edgar Prado was aboard for the work.