03/07/2007 12:00AM

Blinkers experiment set to begin


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Nobiz Like Shobiz returned to the track on Wednesday for the first time since finishing third as the favorite in Saturday's Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

"He came out of the race just fine," said assistant trainer Robin Smullen, who was aboard Nobiz Like Shobiz on Wednesday. "He just jogged this morning and will start back galloping [Thursday]."

Nobiz Like Shobiz could begin training in blinkers as early as Thursday morning, Smullen said.

"We'll try cheaters on him, first during his gallops and again when he works," said Smullen. "We thought he might need them before his last race but it's difficult to make a change like that off a win. The stewards won't usually let you do it even if you want."

Smullen said she and trainer Barclay Tagg have been inundated with e-mails since the Fountain of Youth.

"Everybody wants to train this horse now," Smullen said with a laugh. "We must have gotten 100 e-mails with suggestions telling us what to do with him next."

Smullen was also aboard Funny Cide on Wednesday when the 2003 Kentucky Derby winner worked a sharp half mile in 48.60 seconds.

"He was nice and relaxed and his stride was long this morning," said Smullen. "I still have to work him in draw reins, which helps me slow him down, and he went his opening quarter in 25 and change today. The plan is to try to avoid the fast works for a while and wait to put some speed into him as he gets closer to his next start."

Tagg also worked his Grade 2 winner Stormy Kiss six furlongs in 1:12.40 following the second renovation break. Stormy Kiss is among the nominees for Sunday's 1 1/8-mile Rampart Handicap but will pass the race in lieu of the seven-furlong Shirley Jones Handicap the following weekend.

"We just don't want to send her a mile and one-eighth around two turns after running 6 1/2 furlongs in her last start," explained Smullen.

Stormy Kiss finished fifth making her 2007 debut in the Hurricane Bertie here on Feb. 27.

Blue Bullet stays sharp

Blue Bullet zipped four furlongs in 46.20 seconds here Wednesday, although officially it wasn't even close to the fastest work at the distance. A pair of runners from trainer Bill Mott's barn were credited by the clockers with a half-mile from the gate in 45.00, and the trailer in that same set went in 45.40. Blue Bullet's gallop-out time of 58.40 would have easily been best at five furlongs, however.

No matter what the numbers read, trainer Allen Jerkens was pleased with Blue Bullet's drill. He said the undefeated Blue Bullet, 3, would likely be pointed for either the seven-furlong Aventura Stakes here on March 31 or the Bay Shore the following weekend in New York. Jerkens also said he plans to enter Blue Bullet in a second-level allowance race in the book here next Thursday.

"If the allowance race goes he'll run in there, although sometimes those kind of races come up just as tough as stakes around here," said Jerkens.

Dream Rush slightly ill

Trainer Rick Violette reported that Dream Rush, who handed Eclipse Award winner Dreaming of Anna her first loss in the Grade 3 Old Hat Stakes earlier this winter, will miss her next scheduled start in Saturday's Grade 2 Forward Gal Stakes.

"She spiked a temperature and missed her breeze over the weekend, so we'll just pass this next one and regroup," said Violette. "Naturally I'm disappointed but it's a long year and there will be plenty of other opportunities for her down the road."

Violette said at the moment he has nothing picked out for Dream Rush's next start.

Christmas Kid breezes for Bonnie Miss

Christmas Kid, among the prospective starters for Saturday's Grade 2 Bonnie Miss Stakes, worked a half- mile in 49.40 at Palm Meadows on Wednesday. The versatile Christmas Kid won the Tropical Oaks on turf at Calder to open her 3-year-old campaign before returning over the main track to capture the Grade 2 Davona Dale here on Feb. 10.

Calder will open slowly

Calder Race Course has made some subtle changes to its racing schedule for the 2007 meet, which opens on April 25.

For the first time, Calder will open with an abbreviated racing schedule for the first two weeks of the meet, furthering an experiment it began a year ago with six shortened weeks of racing during the summer. There will be four more shortened weeks in late July and early August. The 2007 Calder meet will have 112 programs, the same as in 2006.

"Last year was an experiment and it was successful in our opinion," said Calder president Ken Dunn. "This schedule takes advantage of our ability to open with a four-day week highlighted by four stakes on the first Saturday, followed by a three-day week ending with the Kentucky Derby. We have always been challenged at the beginning of the season, since 2-year-olds are not always ready to participate at the levels we reach later in the meet."

Stall applications for the 2007 meet are due on March 14. Applications are available in the racing office or on Calder's website at www.calderracecourse.com.