04/20/2006 11:00PM

Cascio loses a rising star


The classy sprinter Gold Storm is on his way back to the races from injury, and so is the stakes-class 3-year-old filly Mykindasaint, but this still was a troubled week for the Bubba Cascio barn at Lone Star Park. That's because Seabreeze Blvd., a highly promising 3-year-old colt, broke down badly in a Wednesday morning workout and had to be euthanized because of his catastrophic injuries. Jockey Larry Taylor, who was aboard Seabreeze Blvd. for the work, escaped serious injury, Cascio said.

"It's tough," said Cascio. "I don't get too many like that to work with."

Seabreeze Blvd., a Mt. Livermore colt owned by Keith McKinney and Larry Lee, ran poorly in his career debut last November at Louisiana Downs, but he won a Feb. 24 Evangeline Downs maiden race by six lengths and came back five weeks later with an easy win in the $75,000 Inaugural Stakes there.

"Yes sir, he looked like he was going to be something special," Cascio said. "He'd beat some pretty nice horses easy."

Seabreeze Blvd., who Cascio said "was as sound as a bell of brass," fractured a sesamoid shortly after starting his Wednesday workout. "He left there flying, and I saw his head go down and his tail go up, and I knew I was in trouble," Cascio said.

Gold Storm, on the other hand, appears to be thriving at the moment, according to Cascio, who is bringing the brilliantly fast sprinter back for a 6-year-old campaign. Gold Storm, a winner in 9 of his 16 starts, last raced May 7, finishing 10th in the Churchill Downs Handicap, and has mended after suffering a pulled suspensory ligament. Gold Storm has posted three timed workouts so far, including three furlongs in a bullet 34.80 seconds, and a bullet half-mile in 47 seconds on Tuesday.

"We don't try to get any bullets out of him," Cascio said. "We keep him out in the four path, let him coast around there, but he still throws a bullet work."

Cascio said that if Gold Storm can hold together physically this season, "he'll be a better horse than he ever has been before. He hasn't had that many starts. He's bigger, stronger."

Cascio said Gold Storm could make his comeback in an Evangeline Downs sprint stakes, which would be a stepping-stone for a trip to Calder for the Summit of Speed later this summer. Calder also is the goal for Mykindasaint, who has galloped about 15 times after coming back from injuries to her knees. Mykindasaint began her career last year with three wins before shipping to New York and finishing sixth in the Grade 1 Frizette. Her final start of the season was a last-place finish in the Pocahontas at Churchill. Both of those stakes were one-mile races, and Mykindasaint might strictly be a sprinter.

Autrey off to a fast start

Did trainer Cody Autrey point for this Lone Star meet?

Do 10 wins from his first 16 starters answer that question?

Autrey sat atop the Lone Star trainer standings as of Friday thanks to a tremendous run that included a four-win night on Wednesday and a three-bagger last Saturday. And there should be many more to come. Autrey, just 26 years old, has 47 horses stabled at Lone Star, giving him one of the largest operations on the grounds, and about twice as many horses as he had this time last year.

"The most we had last year was 24, the year before that 12," said Autrey. "It's something you enjoy doing, so it's not that much of a challenge. It's a lot of work, but this is the only thing I want to do, so it doesn't seem hard to me."

Autrey appears to have a single-minded devotion to training racehorses, which would account for his ability to manage a bulky stable at such a tender age.

"I'm really proud of that boy," said Cascio, for whom Autrey served as an assistant for several years before striking out on his own. "He's doing good and working hard. There's no drugs, drinking, he doesn't care about going to a ballgame or a movie. He dreams, eats, and breathes horses. I raced against Wayne Lukas and Bob Baffert over at Los Alamitos - he's so far ahead of where we were, it's not even funny."

Autrey has a few allowance horses and straight maidens, but mostly he's working the claiming game now. And working it quite well. His win rate off the claim sits at a gaudy 35 percent; second start after a claim, it's 31 percent.

"I love to claim one and see what we can do with him," Autrey said.

And what he's doing with them right now is winning.

* The Sunday feature, race 8, is an inscrutable second-level turf-sprint allowance also open to $35,000 claimers. Of the seven horses entered, only Shareshten finished better than fifth in her last start - and Shareshten looks strictly like a longshot in the race.