12/18/2010 2:43PM

Breeders' Cup Marathon winner Eldaafer under consideration for the Donn

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Tom Keyser
Eldaafer wins the Breeders' Cup Marathon at Churchill Downs.

MIAMI – Seven of this year’s 14 Breeders’ Cup winners will be stabled throughout the south Florida area this winter. One of them, Eldaafer, was on the work tab for the first time since shipping to Gulfstream Park earlier this month when breezing an easy half-mile in 51.60 seconds with trainer Diane Alvarado aboard on Friday.

Eldaafer ran the race of his life to capture the Breeders’ Cup Marathon. He was rewarded for that performance with a little time off on the farm but is now back on a regular work regimen in preparation for his 2011 debut, which could come in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap on Feb. 5.

“We could have brought him right down here and run him in a race like the McKnight at Calder this weekend,” said Alvarado. “Instead we decided that to have him back at his best next year he deserved a break so we sent him to Red Oak Farm in Ocala after the Breeders’ Cup where he spent three weeks just being turned out and relaxing.”

Eldaafer has spent a week jogging and two more galloping at Gulfstream before finally getting to stretch his legs a bit on Friday.

“He’s a smart horse and he knew once he got here that his vacation was over and it was time to get back to work,” said Alvarado. “I didn’t want to push him too hard in his first work back. He’ll breeze once a week from here on out. I’ll probably send him five furlongs next week and just see how he goes from there.”

Alvarado said she has no specific plans laid out for Eldaafer at the moment other than to nominate him for the Donn.

“Everything is pretty much up in the air,” said Alvarado. “We’re definitely thinking about the Donn. He runs well off a layoff. But it will pretty much depend on what the nominations look like and who they expect to have in there.”

Bernie the Maestro ends year on winning note

Trainer Milt Wolfson resisted the temptation to run his multiple-stakes-winning 3-year-old Bernie the Maestro last week in the Grade 3 Fred Hooper Handicap. That decision paid off when Bernie the Maestro returned from an eight-week layoff to capture Friday’s featured ninth race, a $25,000 starter allowance against a field that included several other former stakes winners.

Bernie the Maestro, who accounted for the Ride the Rails and American Dreamer overnight stakes here earlier this season, led throughout under jockey Paco Lopez to register an easy 3  3/4-length decision over stakes winner Starship Valor. The win was Bernie the Maestro’s fifth of the season but his first since the American Dreamer on July  25. He concludes his 3-year-old campaign with earnings of over $165,000.

The win was also the third in succession for Lopez, who accounted for the seventh and eighth events on Friday’s card with Passthepastaplesa and Far From Shy.

Azpurua 2-year-olds work

Trainer Manny Azpurua Sr. worked his top 2-year-olds Reprized Halo and Ribo Bobo four furlongs in company in 48.40 seconds at Calder on Saturday.

Reprized Halo upset Gourmet Dinner to win the In Reality finale of the Florida Stallion Series. Ribo Bobo captured the Foolish Pleasure and finished second in each of his last two starts, including the Grade 3 Iroquois at Churchill Downs.