07/01/2002 11:00PM

Blazing Fury has come long way since last Shore visit


OCEANPORT, N.J. - When Blazing Fury left Monmouth Park last June after running seventh in a maiden turf race, trainer Jimmy Toner said he was disappointed and dumbfounded. When Blazing Fury returns to Monmouth this Saturday under much different circumstances, Toner will be excited.


Because since that maiden race at Monmouth, a race which Toner said he "threw out," Blazing Fury has rapidly emerged as one of the top handicap turf horses in the country. It has only been a little more than one year and seven races later, but Blazing Fury makes his second appearance at Monmouth on a totally different level than when he first started here - in the Grade 1, $500,000 United Nations Handicap.

How Blazing Fury got to this point is amazing. But after he ran poorly at Monmouth last year, the last thing Toner could have expected was that his horse would return to Monmouth in a Grade 1.

"We trained his mother [Blazing Kadie] and she was a stakes-placed grass horse," Toner said. "He had some high knee action to him and there was every indication that he wanted to be a grass horse. He was training brilliantly all winter on the turf, so we were disappointed and dumbfounded when he ran so badly at Monmouth. But we threw that race out and he won at Belmont in his next start."

After winning his maiden at Belmont last July 4 at 38-1, he ran second in an allowance and then won the Grade 3 Saranac Handicap for 3-year-olds at Saratoga. In his next start, the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Belmont, Blazing Fury ran fourth.

After his solid Turf Classic performance, the decision was made to run Blazing Fury in the Breeders' Cup Turf. He ran fourth at 55-1 behind the best turf horses in the world, only three-quarters of a length behind the top three.

"Everyone gets excited to have developing horses," Toner said, "and we said, 'Why not? Let's take a shot with the Breeders' Cup.' We couldn't have been happier with his performance."

Following the Breeders' Cup, Blazing Fury was kept in training as his connections pondered a trip to the Hong Kong Cup, but ultimately decided that "the Saranac to Hong Kong in three months was a bit of a push," Toner said. Instead, he was sent to California for the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup on Dec. 1 and ran third, a race in which he made two runs.

Blazing Fury, who will be ridden by Jose Santos for the first time, enters the United Nations off an extremely tough 2002 debut - the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap at Belmont on June 8. Toner said he was entered in an allowance three weeks earlier as a prep for the Manhattan, but that race was rained off the turf, and he had to make his first start off an extended layoff in the Manhattan. Blazing Fury made up a lot of ground late to finish fifth by three lengths, right behind fellow U.N. starter With Anticipation, who was fourth.

Entering the U.N., Toner said Blazing Fury is "mentally more into it with a race under him."

Freedom's Daughter goes to Saratoga

Freedom's Daughter, one of the most impressive 2-year-olds here this meet, will make her next start in the Grade 2 Schuylerville on opening day at Saratoga July 24.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Freedom's Daughter, a $525,000 yearling purchase owned by Padua Stables, won her maiden here June 22 by nearly eight lengths. Her time of 58.18 seconds for five furlongs was the best of the meet for a 2-year-old filly.

Juvenile fillies coming out of maiden races here have traveled up to New York with great success: Mike's Wildcat, trained by Jeff Bonde, won her maiden here May 30 and then pulled off an upset at 14-1 in the Astoria Stakes at Belmont last Sunday. Freedom's Daughter, because of her impressive performance here, has the potential to do the same.

Bold World sharpens for Azalea

Three-year-old filly sprinter Bold World, a two-time stakes winner at the meet, fired a bullet four-furlong workout in 46.80 on Sunday, galloping out in 59.00, with jockey Marland Suckie aboard. It was one of the quickest four-furlong workouts of the summer and the best of 52 that morning at the distance.

Bold World, winner of the Ocean Hotel and Little Silver Stakes here, scratched out of the $50,000 Dearly Precious Stakes last Sunday and has been prepping for her next start in the Grade 3, $250,000 Azalea Breeders' Cup Stakes at Calder on July 13. Trainer Ronald Taylor said Bold World would fly down to Florida three days before the race.

* Kris's Prayer, second in the Grade 3 Jersey Derby and winner of the $50,000 Choice Stakes on June 23, may make his next start in the $500,000 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs on July 13, trainer Terri Pompay said. Pompay said Kris's Prayer is also nominated to the Kent Breeders' Cup at Delaware Park and the Lexington at Belmont, but she is leaning toward running him in the Virginia Derby.

* Gates open at 10:30 a.m. on July 4 and there will be a free concert from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. by Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. First post will be 2 p.m.