08/22/2008 11:00PM

Breeders' Cup on Ginger Punch's agenda


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Though trainer Bobby Frankel is not happy that this year's Breeders' Cup will be run over a synthetic surface, he is starting to warm to the idea of running Ginger Punch in the $2 million Ladies Classic on Oct. 24 at Santa Anita.

On the morning after Ginger Punch's thrilling nose victory over Lemon Drop Mom in Friday's Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga, Frankel indicated that Ginger Punch could end her career with starts in the $600,000 Beldame at Belmont on Sept. 27 and the Ladies Classic, a race she won last year when it was known as the Distaff.

"If she could win the Beldame and the Breeders' Cup she could be the leading all-time money winning filly,'' said Frankel, whose filly has earned $2,945,603.

Victories in those two races would yield approximately $1.4 million in earnings which would push Ginger Punch's career earnings past $4.3 million. That would make her the leading money-winning filly or mare bred in North America, passing Azeri, who retired with $4,079,820. However, there are three foreign-bred mares who have earned more than that, led by Ouija Board, the two-time Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner who is the all-time leading female money earner with $6,312,552. Japanese-bred mares Dance in the Mood and Preeminence rank second and third, with more than $5 million.

Frankel said he would be inclined to run Ginger Punch in the Breeders' Cup because "it would probably be her last race'' before being retired and bred.

Ginger Punch earned a 104 Beyer Speed Figure for the Personal Ensign, equaling her career best. She has won 12 of 20 starts and has won six Grade 1 races in her last 10 starts. Frankel said Ginger Punch "seemed fine'' Saturday morning.

Spring Waltz, whom Frankel scratched out of the Personal Ensign, worked five furlongs in 1:03.22 Saturday morning over the Oklahoma training track. She is being pointed to the Grade 1, $300,000 Ruffian Handicap on Sept. 6.

Country Star may try Garden City

After Country Star won a second-level allowance race on turf on Aug. 18, her connections indicated that she may be pointed to the Grade 1 Gazelle on dirt at Belmont Park on Sept. 13.

Saturday, Frankel said he would also take a strong look at the Grade 1 Garden City on the turf on Sept. 6 at Belmont.

"I thought she ran real good the other day,'' Frankel said. "It looked like she was going to get passed, and as soon as that other filly got to her, [Country Star] took off again. It looked like she was waiting.''

Country Star is a two-time Grade 1 winner over synthetic surfaces.

Frankel already plans to run Ariege in the Garden City. Ariege won the Madame Jumel Stakes here on Aug. 9, her first start since having a chip taken out of an ankle. Ariege worked over the Oklahoma training track Saturday morning, but no time could be recorded because of foggy conditions.

Precious Kitten, Frankel's multiple Grade 1-winning 5-year-old turf mare, worked four furlongs in 50.06 seconds over the Oklahoma training track Saturday. It was her first breeze since finishing fifth in the Beverly D. at Arlington Park on Aug. 9.

Frankel said his major targets with Precious Kitten are the Grade 1 First Lady at Keeneland on Oct. 3 and the Grade 1 Matriarch at Hollywood Park on Nov. 30. Both races are at one mile. Frankel said he may run Precious Kitten next in the Grade 2, $300,000 Canadian at Woodbine on Sept. 7. That race is at 1 1/8 miles.

Hookin the Goods will be in front early

On paper, Monday's $80,000 Vichy Stakes for 2-year-old New York-bred fillies looks like an extremely wide-open race. But trainer Gary Contessa is counting on getting an important edge over the competition with his speedy Hookin the Goods the instant the starting gate opens for the six-furlong sprint.

"She's a little bitty thing, about 15 hands, but all muscle and breaks like a rocket," Contessa said of Hookin the Goods. "She's an extremely fast gate horse and I think she'll be a half-length in front as soon as they break."

Hookin the Goods broke on top and used her abundant speed to post a wire-to-wire four-length maiden special weight victory going 5o1/2 furlongs at Belmont Park on July 9. A daughter of Hook and Ladder, Hookin the Goods has worked steadily and at times spectacularly since shipping to Saratoga shortly after graduation day, capping off a series of impressive trials with a bullet three-furlong drill in 34.60 seconds on Friday.

"She's training up a storm," said Contessa. "All of her works have been outstanding and effortless. She's as fast as they come, and stretching out to six furlongs should make it even easier for her to get to the lead."

Stunning Electra owns the highest Beyer Speed Figure in the field, a 79 she earned for a 1 3/4-length tally over a sloppy track here early in the meet.

Akilina posted a game head decision in her local debut while showing improvement with the addition of Lasix,

Goodday will try dirt for the first time after opening her career with a pair of promising efforts over artificial surfaces, including a three-length tally under an $85,000 claiming tag at Del Mar on July 17. She was subsequently purchased privately and transferred to the barn of trainer Richard Dutrow Jr.

A contested pace would help Chartreux, who rallied from the rear of the pack to win her career debut at Belmont on June 12. Chartreux returns to open company and adds blinkers after breaking slowly and finishing sixth in the Grade 3 Schuylerville.

Leisurely works for trio heading to Woodward

Divine Park, Star Plus, and A.P. Arrow all tuned up here Saturday morning for next Saturday's matchup with Horse of the Year Curlin in the Grade 1 Woodward.

Divine Park, who has not started since winning the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on May 26, went an easy half-mile in 49.99 before galloping out five-eighths in 1:03.03 for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. Star Plus went an even more leisurely five furlongs in 1:04.69 several minutes later. Both horses worked over the main track.

At the Oklahoma training track, trainer Todd Pletcher sent out A.P. Arrow to breeze five furlongs in 1:02.43 in company with stablemate Sam P.

McLaughlin also had Lucky Island go an easy half-mile in 50.67 in preparation for Saturday's Grade 1 Forego.

* Red Giant, winner of the Fourstardave Handicap here on Aug. 3, worked four furlongs in 50.05 seconds Saturday morning in preparation for a start in the Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship on Sept. 27 at Santa Anita.

- additional reporting by Mike Welsch