08/15/2007 11:00PM

C P West, Helsinki in Travers for Zito


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - After watching C P West and Helsinki turn in satisfactory workouts Thursday morning, trainer Nick Zito said both 3-year-olds would challenge Street Sense in the $1 million Travers Stakes here on Aug. 25.

"Right now, these two are in; they're definites provided there are no problems," Zito said.

It will mark the seventh time in the last eight years that Zito has had at least one starter in the Travers, the marquee race of this meet. Zito ran three in 2004 when he won it with Birdstone. Seven of Zito's previous 16 runners have finished in the money including 31-1 shot Nothing Flat, who finished third in 2002.

In C P West, who finished second to Street Sense in the Jim Dandy, Zito will have the second or third betting choice in the Travers, while Helsinki could be the longest price on the board.

On Thursday, C P West worked four furlongs in 46.64 seconds under Maxine Correa, the fastest of 42 works at the distance. C P West worked in company with Optimistic Steve, starting outside that horse before going past him around the far turn and drawing clear in the stretch. He galloped out five furlongs in 59.71 seconds and pulled up seven furlongs in 1:13.94.

Zito said Correa and C P West "did what I wanted."

C P West is coming off a career-best performance in finishing second to Street Sense in the Jim Dandy. In that race, he dueled with Flashstorm before putting that one way and battling Street Sense until the final sixteenth.

"My wish list and my goal is to somehow, someway open up again on Street Sense," Zito said. "I know it's an extra [eighth of a mile], but if we can get away from Street Sense we might have a shot."

Helsinki, who finished fourth in the Lemon Drop Kid Stakes here on Aug. 5, worked fur furlongs in 47.82 seconds early Thursday morning. He went in company with the 3-year-old maiden winner Advanced Signs. Helsinki ran one time in top company, finishing last in the Dwyer to Any Given Saturday. Zito added blinkers to Helsinki's equipment for the Lemon Drop Kid, but he didn't think they helped and will remove them for the Travers.

"He's a natural mile-and-a-quarter horse," Zito said. "Somebody would say, 'Well, what does that mean, he's a natural mile-and-a-quarter horse, but he can't run with the horses that are running in the Travers.' I disagree. He was a lightly raced horse and I threw him to the wolves in the Dwyer. He didn't fail, he came with a run, he was flying in the end."

Zito called Helsinki's workout "tremendous" and said he would recommend to Kassem Asri, the head of Four Roses Thoroughbreds, to run in the Travers.

As of Thursday, a field of seven was shaping up for the Travers: Street Sense, C P West, Sightseeing, Tiz Wonderful, Loose Leaf, Helsinki and Grasshopper. For You Reppo and Imawildandcrazyguy were possible.

Teuflesberg goes to school

Trainer Jamie Sanders used a Thursday workout to try teaching Teuflesberg some new tricks that she hopes will have him spot-on for the Grade 1 King's Bishop on the Travers undercard.

Teuflesberg worked five furlongs in 1:00.08 in company with Sir Five Star, who was timed in 1:01.27. Teuflesberg, with Sanders up, started five lengths behind Sir Five Star, but quickly caught him about a quarter of a mile into the move. Teuflesberg looked like he was going to open up on Sir Five Star, but Sir Five Star came back on Teuflesberg in the stretch. Teuflesberg finished the work in front by a neck.

"I wanted to try and teach him something, that he could let another horse go," Sanders said. "I was waiting on the other colt because I wanted to let him know that he could come back on a horse. Then we let [Sir Five Star] gallop out past him so both of them thought they won."

Sanders said that getting a race into Teuflesberg earlier this month - he finished second in an overnight turf stakes - made things easier in terms of training the horse for this race.

"He's still a handful, but it did keep him at a manageable level," Sanders said.

NYRA refunds more wagers

It wasn't precipitated by a gate mishap, but the New York Racing Association had to issue $463,841 in refunds Thursday due to late scratches in the third and fifth races.

Prior to the third race, veterinarian Dr. Anthony Verderosa scratched Cannonball and Sonoran Desert before they reached the starting gate for a maiden claiming New York-bred race. Verderosa said Cannonball was kicked by a pony and Sonoran Desert was sore.

Due to those scratches, show and trifecta wagering was canceled and a total of $326,464 in refunds was issued. Pick three and pick four bets were transferred to the post-time favorite, Piquante Cat, who won and paid $3.80.

Verderosa also scratched Snows Gone just prior to the fifth race, and NYRA had to refund an additional $137,377.

Thursday's refunds come a day after NYRA refunded $594,995 when Phantom Income was ruled a non-starter in the Adirondack. In the first 20 days of the meet, NYRA has refunded more than $2 million in wagers.

Chatain in Forego next

Chatain, who returned from a 3o1/2-month layoff to win a third-level allowance race on Aug. 6, will make his next start in the Grade 1 Forego Handicap here on Sept. 1, trainer Angel Penna Jr. said. On Thursday, Chatain breezed four furlongs in 48.82 seconds over Saratoga's main track.

"Maintenance work, on his own, at will, good workout," Penna said.

Chatain missed most of the spring and half of the summer after running down badly in his hind ankles while preparing for the Metropolitan Handicap in May. He returned with a solid two-length victory here Aug. 6 in a third-level allowance race in which he ran six furlongs in 1:10.92.

"The race was good in the sense of how he did it," Penna said. "At the stage he was at, he wasn't stopping and he wasn't 100 percent fit. He did it impressively, but you hope to improve from there."

Horsemen donate to Make-a-Wish

The owners of Octave have pledged to donate 5 percent of what the filly earns in Saturday's $600,000 Alabama Stakes to the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Northeast New York, a charity championed by local handicapper and commentator Mark Cusano.

Don and Barbara Lucarelli, of nearby Duanesberg, as well as Jack and Laurie Wolf, who own a summer home in Saratoga, agreed to pledge 5 percent of Octave's winnings to the local charity, which makes wishes come true for children with life-threatening illnesses. Additionally, the Lucarellis and Wolfs agreed to provide transportation to any of the children and their families if the wish involves horse racing.

Also donating money is Roddy Valente, who pledged to donate 10 percent of what Callmetony earned in Wednesday's third race. However, when Callmetony earned only $3,900, Valente called Cusano and said he would donate $4,500.

"It's the first time I ever approached local owners to see if they wanted to participate," Cusano said. "They didn't have to step up like this."

Should Octave win the Alabama, she would earn $360,000, meaning $18,000 would go to charity.

"It took me 19 years to raise $155,000," Cusano said. "This could be the greatest single year by far."

* Moyer's Pond, the third-place finisher in the West Virginia Derby, worked four furlongs in 50.11 seconds on Thursday. Though he is nominated to the Travers, trainer Tony Reinstedler said he is leaning toward running in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park on Sept. 3.