01/11/2007 12:00AM

Boca Grande the latest in long line

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey is rarely at a loss for a first-class filly in the barn, and this winter will be no exception.

McGaughey's resume of filly and mare stars includes Smuggler, Personal Ensign, Heavenly Prize, Inside Information, Pleasant Home, My Flag, and most recently Pine Island, whose career ended with her fatal breakdown in the 2006 Breeders' Cup Distaff.

The latest female prospect in McGaughey's barn is the 3-year-old Boca Grande, a daughter of A.P. Indy out of a four-time graded stakes winner, Country Hideaway. Boca Grande finished third in her debut during the final weekend of the Saratoga meet, then won her other two starts by a combined nine lengths, including Aqueduct's Grade 2 Demoiselle by 3 3/4 lengths on Nov. 25.

"All three of her races were fine," McGaughey said during training hours here Thursday. "The improvement she made from her first to her second start was very big, and her race in the Demoiselle was extremely encouraging. She's got the pedigree to be okay, she wants to run a distance of ground, and right now we're going to give her a chance to be an Oaks filly and see if that works out."

McGaughey said he is uncertain when Boca Grande will make her 3-year-old debut.

"She's scheduled to breeze again Saturday," said McGaughey, who called the March 10 Bonnie Miss "the ultimate goal here this winter.

"Where she'll run first, I'm not sure, but we'll find a spot."

McGaughey said Sightseeing, his top 3-year-old male prospect, is training at Payson Park. A son of Pulpit, Sightseeing captured 1 of 5 starts at 2 and also finished second behind the undefeated Day Pass in the Grade 3 Nashua.

"I just gave him a little time up there at Payson, but we'll find a race for him here next month and see how he stacks up," said McGaughey.

Sun King to get back to work

Trainer Nick Zito, like McGaughey a member of racing's Hall of Fame, reports that his popular but hard-luck handicap star Sun King is due to come back to the track and resume serious training within the next couple of days.

Sun King won only once in eight starts last year, and suffered frustrating loses at the hands of the 2005 Breeders' Cup Sprint champion, Silver Train in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap and to the Horse of the Year favorite, Invasor, in the Grade 1 Whitney.

"He would have been back a little sooner but got held up on the farm because of the herpes scare down here," Zito explained. "He'll probably make one start before leaving Gulfstream, with the Met Mile probably the first major goal."

Corinthian nears return

Corinthian, one of the top 3-year-olds in south Florida last winter before having his Kentucky Derby chances ended by a hairline fracture in his left hind ankle, worked five furlongs in 1:01 at Palm Meadows on Thursday as he gets closer to making his 2007 debut for trainer Jimmy Jerkens.

Corinthian, a son of Pulpit, vaulted to the upper echelon of the local 3-year-old division a year ago when he crossed the finish line first in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes. But he was disqualified and placed third for taking an erratic path through the stretch and interfering with First Samurai and Flashy Bull, who were placed first and second.

Corinthian's injury was discovered shortly after he returned to New York to begin preparations for the Wood Memorial. He has made just one start since the Fountain of Youth, finishing third behind Zito's Hesanoldsalt under second-level allowance conditions during the summer at Saratoga.

Sciametta passing on Marshua River

Trainer Anthony Sciametta Jr. had four fillies nominated for Saturday's $75,000 Marshua's River Stakes on turf, including the graded stakes-placed J'ray, but isn't running any of them. J'ray will instead wait for a more lucrative opportunity in the $100,000 Suwannee River Handicap on Feb. 3.

Sciametta's other nominees for the Marshua River were Almonsoon and Cassydora, who both ran in split divisions of a second-level allowance race on Thursday and the Grade 3 winner Mo Cuishle, who has yet to start on grass.HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey is rarely at a loss for a first-class filly in the barn, and this winter will be no exception.

McGaughey's resume of filly and mare stars includes Smuggler, Personal Ensign, Heavenly Prize, Inside Information, Pleasant Home, My Flag, and most recently the ill-fated Pine Island whose career ended with her fatal breakdown in the 2006 Breeders' Cup Distaff.

The latest female prospect in McGaughey's barn is the 3-year-old Boca Grande, a daughter of A.P. Indy out of a four-time graded stakes winner, Country Hideaway. Boca Grande finished third in her debut during the final weekend of the Saratoga meet, then won her final two starts by a combined nine lengths, including Aqueduct's Grade 2 Demoiselle by 3 3/4 lengths on Nov. 25.

"All three of her races were fine," McGaughey said during training hours here Thursday. "The improvement she made from her first to her second start was very big, and her race in the Demoiselle was extremely encouraging. She's got the pedigree to be okay, she wants to run a distance of ground, and right now we're going to give her a chance to be an Oaks filly and see if that works out."

McGaughey said at the moment he is uncertain when Boca Grande will make her 3-year-old debut.

"She's scheduled to breeze again Saturday," said McGaughey, who called the March 10 Bonnie Miss "the ultimate goal here this winter.

"Where she'll run first, I'm not sure, but we'll find a spot."

McGaughey said Sightseeing, his top 3-year-old male prospect, is training at Payson Park. A son of Pulpit, Sightseeing captured 1 of 5 starts at 2 and also finished second behind the undefeated Day Pass in the Grade 3 Nashua.

"I just gave him a little time up there at Payson, but we'll find a race for him here next month and see how he stacks up," said McGaughey.

Sun King to get back to work

Trainer Nick Zito, like McGaughey a member of racing's Hall of Fame, reports his popular but hard-luck handicap star Sun King is due to come back to the track and resume serious training within the next couple of days.

Sun King won only once in eight starts last year and suffered frustrating loses at the hands of the 2005 Breeders' Cup Sprint champion, Silver Train in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap and to the Horse of the Year favorite, Invasor, in the Grade 1 Whitney.

"He would have been back a little sooner but got held up on the farm because of the herpes scare down here," Zito explained. "He'll probably make one start before leaving Gulfstream, with the Met Mile probably the first major goal."

Corinthian nears return

Corinthian, one of the top 3-year-olds in south Florida last winter before having his Kentucky Derby chances ended by a hairline fracture in his left hind ankle, worked five furlongs in 1:01 at Palm Meadows on Thursday as he gets closer to making his 2007 debut for trainer Jimmy Jerkens.

Corinthian, a son of Pulpit, vaulted to the upper echelon of the local 3-year-old division a year ago after crossing the finish line first in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes. Unfortunately, he was disqualified and placed third for taking an erratic path through the stretch to interfere with the ultimate winner, First Samurai, and runner-up, Flashy Bull.

Corinthian's injury was discovered shortly after he returned to New York to begin preparations for the Wood Memorial. He has made just one start since the Fountain of Youth, finishing a disappointing third behind Zito's Hesanoldsalt under second level allowance conditions this summer at Saratoga.

Sciametta passing on Marshua River

Trainer Anthony Sciametta Jr. had four fillies nominated for Saturday's Marshua River Stakes but passed the race with the quartet, including the multiple graded stakes placed J'ray, who will instead wait for a more lucrative opportunity in the Grade 3 Suwannee River Handicap on Feb. 3.

Sciametta's other nominees for the Marshua River were Almonsoon and Cassydora, both of whom ran in split divisions of a second-level allowance race on Thursday and the Grade 3 winner Mo Cuishle, who has yet to start on grass.