06/20/2008 12:00AM

Bustin Stones targets Vanderbilt


ELMONT, N.Y. - Bustin Stones, the undefeated New York-bred Grade 1-winning sprinter, began working toward the second half of his campaign on Friday by breezing an easy half-mile in 50.16 seconds over the Belmont Park training track.

It was his first workout in nearly two months. Bustin Stones was forced to skip the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on Memorial Day after he missed some training time in early May due to an illness. His return target is now the Grade 2, $250,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga on July 26.

"He got sick and then was over it in a week, then he just wasn't doing any good," trainer Bruce Levine said. "He stopped eating - I don't know why - went into a funk that lasted 10 days. He went about three weeks without doing much."

Bustin Stones, a son of City Zip, has won all six of his starts, including five stakes. In February, he won the Grade 2 General George Handicap at Laurel before taking the Grade 1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct in early April.

Levine said that Bustin Stones's schedule would include the Vanderbilt, the Forego at Saratoga on Aug. 30 and/or the Vosburgh at Belmont on Sept. 27, and the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

"I always wanted to stretch him, but I think it's getting to the point where I don't think I can stretch him out and still point for the Breeders' Cup," Levine said.

Coa bruises rib in spill

Jockey Eibar Coa sustained a bruised rib on his left side when he was unseated at the start of Friday's $76,900 Yankee Victor Stakes.

Coa was scheduled to ride at Colonial Downs on Saturday and Woodbine on Sunday.

Coa, 37, was aboard Canadian shipper Storm Caller, who stumbled badly at the start of the race, tossing Coa. The horse then appeared to kick Coa once, possibly twice. Coa was transported by ambulance to North Shore University Hospital where X-rays did not reveal any fractures.

Coa had to take off his final five mounts, two of which were ridden to victory by other jocks. John Velazquez won the sixth aboard Twistaway ($10.80) while Alan Garcia got Nehantic Cat ($7.90) up in the final jumps of the seventh race.

Prior to the spill, Coa had won with his last five mounts at Belmont - his last four on Thursday and his first one on Friday. Coa is the leading jockey at Belmont with 48 wins.

Merchant Marine ($5.90), trained by Allen Jerkens, wore down pace-setting Shopton Lane to win the Yankee Victory by a head. He ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.36.

Cosmonaut points to Arlington Cap

If reigning Horse of the Year Curlin makes his turf debut in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap at Arlington Park on July 12, he will have to dethrone that race's two-time defending champion, Cosmonaut.

"I'll be curious to see if Curlin does run in there and what kind of weight they put on him," said Carlos Martin, who trains Cosmonaut for Flying Zee Stable.

Cosmonaut won the Arlington Handicap in both 2006 and 2007 when trained by Patrick Biancone. Earlier this year, Cosmonaut won the Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup when trained by Phil Serpe.

Owner Carl Lizza gave Cosmonaut back to Martin - who helped pick the horse out at auction - for his last start, where Cosmonaut was beaten a nose by Tam Lin in the Scottish Monk Stakes.

"We brought him back trying to get an easy race into him though it wasn't an easy race," Martin said. "But he bounced out of it good and I'd like to take a shot in the Arlington Million."

Evening Attire works quickly

Evening Attire stretched his 10-year-old legs out in quick fashion Friday morning, working four furlongs in 47.94 seconds, the second fastest drill of 31 at the distance.

Trainer Pat Kelly said he didn't think his horse worked that fast and he certainly wasn't looking for anything that quick. Though Evening Attire is nominated to next Saturday's Grade 1 Suburban Handicap, Kelly said he wasn't planning on running him in that spot. Evening Attire comes out of a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Brooklyn Handicap.

"I don't know what to do with Attire, I'm just happy he's doing good," Kelly said. "I just want to win a race with him as a 10-year-old."

One possible spot for Evening Attire could be the $250,000 Greenwood Cup at Philadelphia Park. That race is run at 1 1/2 miles, the same distance as the Brooklyn and the Fit to Fight, in which Evening Attire also finished second.

Kelly said he may run Naughty New Yorker in the Suburban. Naughty New Yorker, a 6-year-old New York-bred son of Quiet American, is just $21,543 away from $1 million in earnings.

"He's a colt, some [placing] in a Grade 1 would help him,'' Kelly said.

Two options for Gio Ponti

Gio Ponti, who made a smashing 3-year-old debut by winning the Hill Prince on June 6, worked four furlongs in 49.05 seconds Friday morning over the main track.

Trainer Christophe Clement said Gio Ponti could run next in either the $250,000 American Derby at Arlington on July 12 or the $750,000 Virginia Derby at Colonial on July 19.

NYRA begins recycling project

Spearheaded by veterinarian Dr. Gregory Bennett, the New York Racing Association has begun a "Racing to Recycle" program that will benefit horse-related charities.

Racing to Recycle is a non-profit organization recycling all metals, horseshoes, snaps, bailing wire etc. For more information or to find out drop-off points, contact Bennett's office at 516 437-4408.