04/30/2008 11:00PM

Carolyn's Cat the one to catch


ELMONT, N.Y. - Coming off two impressive front-running wins on Aqueduct's inner dirt, Carolyn's Cat stretches out to seven furlongs as the one to catch and beat in Saturday's $200,000 Nassau County for 3-year-old fillies.

After running second in the Ruthless to begin the year, Carolyn's Cat won an overnight stakes impressively, then dueled through a fast pace to win the Grade 3 Cicada Stakes on March 15.

"She's trained very well since then, and should love seven furlongs," said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

Carolyn's Cat might face some early pressure from Dagger, a good-figure winner against first-level allowance sprinters in her only start this year for trainer Jim Ryerson. Dagger has valuable experience going seven furlongs at Belmont. She ran third to Proud Spell in the Matron last fall in her first start against winners.

The closers include Irish Smoke, winner of the Grade 1 Spinaway last summer, who makes her first start of the year for new connections, and the Gary Contessa-trained pair of Paint Me Red and Ready for Fortune, who will be uncoupled in the wagering.

Irish Smoke was purchased by IEAH Stable for $750,000 at a Fasig-Tipton auction shortly after disappointing efforts in the Alcibiades and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, and given over to trainer Rick Dutrow.

"She's doing good, she's breezing like clockwork, she's ready," said Dutrow. "I liked her first two runs. I don't know what happened her second two runs. The Monmouth Park race is understandable, and they ran on the Poly at Keeneland."

Irish Smoke may appreciate cutting back to one turn. "I don't know, but we're going to start her out like that, see what happens, and see how things go," Dutrow said.

Ready for Fortune was a clear second to Carolyn's Cat in the Cicada, and will be cutting back from a runner-up finish in the one-mile Comely.

"She's been a gem of consistency," said Contessa. "She closed into a moderate pace nicely in the Comely. The more pace up front, the better."

Paint Me Red suffered a foot abscess after a stretch-running win in the two-turn Busanda Jan. 13.

"She probably wants to go a little further, but this is a good place to come back," said Contessa. "She's ready to go seven-eighths."

Last fall at Calder, Paint Me Red ran second at seven furlongs to the very good filly High Resolve, who is 5 for 5, with her wins coming by a combined 26 lengths.

Construction workers injured at Saratoga

A barn undergoing renovations collapsed at Saratoga on Thursday morning, injuring several workers.

Six carpenters were raising the roof of Barn 50 with barn jacks at the Oklahoma training facility, when the weight of the structure shifted, causing the roof to fall onto its side.

Five of the workers were treated at the scene for minor injuries; a sixth worker was airlifted to Albany Medical Center with a broken arm.

The damaged barn is located in Horse Haven at the Oklahoma training track. Gary Contessa had been assigned to the 10-stall barn, which will take 6-8 weeks to rebuild.

No horses or trainers were near the structure at the time of the incident, and no other barns were affected.