06/10/2011 3:04PM

Calder: Quick work puts Duke of Mischief on path to Stephen Foster

Mike Montgomery
Duke of Mischief, winner of the Charles Town Classic, is set for the Stephen Foster.

MIAMI – Trainer David Fawkes had been pinpointing the Grade 3 Cornhusker for Duke of Mischief’s next start almost from the moment his star returned to Calder following his impressive victory in the $1 million Charles Town Classic nearly two months ago. But those plans changed in a little more than 59 seconds, the time it took for Duke of Mischief to work five furlongs over a slow and cuppy racetrack here last Saturday morning.

Now, Fawkes is planning on shipping Duke of Mischief to Churchill Downs to try Grade 1 company next Saturday in the prestigeous Stephen Foster Handicap.

“I was thinking about switching plans and going to the Foster anyway, just the way he’d been doing since the race at Charles Town,” Fawkes said. “His attitude has been fabulous, his coat is good, his whole demeanor has been unbelievable. And that work just opened my eyes as to how good he is really doing. He’s never worked like that.”

Despite the slow conditions, Duke of Mischief posted splits of 12.40, 24:20, and 35.80 en route to a final clocking of 59.47. He then galloped out six furlongs into the turn in an eye-catching 1:12.38.

“Imagine galloping out 1:12 and change over that track,” Fawkes said.

Fawkes had Duke of Mischief penciled in for an easy maintenance work Saturday, after which he’ll load him on the same trailer he used to take Big Drama to Churchill Downs last fall to win the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Joe Bravo, who was aboard Duke of Mischief in the Charles Town Classic, will again have the mount.

Fawkes also said he’s still on target to run Apriority in the Grade 2 Smile Sprint here on the July 9 Summit of Speed card. Apriority has finished second in the Grade 1 Carter and Grade 2 Churchill Downs Sprint in his last two starts.

“The plan all along was to run him in those two races then give him a little break and bring him back here for the Smile,” Fawkes said. “That’s a Win and You’re In race for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, and unlike last year, when we won with Big Drama, this time they pay all your expenses.”

Fawkes also unveiled a very promising 3-year-old Friday in Bulaga, who won his debut by 13 lengths under jockey Jose Angel Garcia. Bulaga is a homebred son of Orientate owned by Woodsfield Farm.

Sweet Repent, Amazing meet again

Sweet Repent and Amazing, first and second, respectively, under allowance conditions here May 13, will renew acquaintances again Sunday in the $55,000 Emergency Nurse Stakes going a mile and 70 yards on the main track.

Sweet Repent rallied from off a slow pace to run by Amazing en route to a two-length victory while making her first start in nearly 10 months for trainer David Braddy. Sweet Repent has already won four stakes, including the Grade 3 Stage Door Betty Handicap in her 3 year-old finale during the winter of 2009.

Amazing has suffered a string of frustrating losses in stakes races dating back to the fall, including near misses to Joanie’s Catch in the 2010 Elmer Heubeck Handicap and the odds-on Evening Jewel this winter in the Sunshine Millions Distaff.

The Emergency Nurse also lured the versatile Trip for A. J. who will return to the dirt for the first time in 2011. Trip for A. J. won the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf in January and more recently finished second behind Romacaca a pair of overnight stakes both here and at Gulfstream.

◗ Jockey Aparna Battula lost three pounds of her 10-pound bug when registering the fifth winner of her riding career by guiding Wild Apache to a popular victory in Friday’s second race. Battula began her career this spring near the tail end of the Gulfstream Park meet.