06/25/2002 11:00PM

Castlebrook in command


MIAMI - Castlebrook regained leadership, at least temporarily, of the filly and mare handicap division following her one-length victory over Banderia in Sunday's $42,345 Hurricane Viv Handicap. Castlebrook's path to the winner's circle didn't quite go the way trainer Bill Kaplan drew it up on the blackboard, however.

In the Hurricane Viv, Castlebrook was part of an uncoupled entry, along with Multiplicity, who Kaplan figured would run early with 9-5 favorite Bay Street Gal, allowing Castlebrook to rally from her favorite spot just off the pace.

But when the gates opened, the usually speedy Bay Street Gal, racing with blinkers off, was nowhere near the lead. So when Castlebrook showed up in front along the rail entering the clubhouse turn, jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr. wisely did not fight to drag her back, allowing her to set a comfortable pace over what proved to be an inside- and speed-biased track. Once Castlebrook was allowed to get an opening half-mile in a relatively slow 49.02 seconds, there was little chance any of her five rivals were going to run her down through the stretch.

"It didn't go quite like we'd planned, but it was good to see her win the race," said Kaplan, who trains Castlebrook for owners Ione and Herbert Elkin.

The victory was the second in a row for Castlebrook, who was the undisputed leader of the female handicap division here last year but whose form seemed to tail off this winter and into the spring. She finally got back to winning after an eight-month drought when she defeated optional claiming and allowance rivals just 12 days before the Hurricane Viv.

"I don't think it was so much her form tailed off as the competition just got tougher once the northern horses came down here late last year and this winter at Gulfstream," Kaplan reasoned.

With nothing more than a few overnight handicaps on the stakes schedule for the division this summer, Kaplan will pick and choose his spots for Castlebrook, whose next major goal figures to be the $100,000 Shocker T. Handicap on Oct. 12.

Hatchett barn full of young talent

Trainer Jim Hatchett's cup continues to runneth over in the 2-year-old division.

Hatchett already had Crimson and Roses set for Saturday's $100,000 J J'sdream Stakes, as well as Hear No Evil and perhaps Lucky Magnus for the $100,000 Criterium Stakes the following weekend. Then he unleashed another pair of fleet juveniles last Saturday, sending out Scrubs and Massive to one-sided victories in their career debuts.

Scrubs, a son of Dr. Caton who, like all the others is owned by the Jacks or Better Farm, is the only member of the group who is eligible to the Florida Stallion Series.

Act Foolish destined for longer

Trainer Ron Spatz has a promising 3-year-old filly on his hands in Act Foolish, a daughter of Noactor. Act Foolish was the only horse on Sunday's card to overcome the track bias when she rallied from off the pace to outgame the pacesetting Partying for her second victory in as many starts.

Act Foolish did not launch her career until earlier this month, when she scored an impressive 6 1/2-length victory over maiden allowance company, with Partying her most immediate victim that day as well.

Spatz noted that all of the previous foals out of Act Foolish's dam, Foolish Sky, were late developers. "They also wound up having pretty long careers, and they all won on the grass, including Cigar Charlie, who was a stakes winner on turf. So naturally I believe this filly will be even better once I can stretch her out and get her on the grass."

Fappie's Notebook hurt again

Trainer Manny Tortora reported that Fappie's Notebook, the leader of the local sprint division, will be sidelined several months after breaking a splint bone in his right front leg. It is the second time a splint bone injury has slowed the career of Fappie's Notebook, who won Gulfstream's Grade 3 Deputy Minister Handicap in February and surpassed the $500,000 in career earnings this winter.

"We took the splint bone out and he'll probably be out of training about six weeks," said Tortora.

The injury will prevent Fappie's Notebook from attempting to defend his title in the Smile Sprint Handicap on the July 13 Summit of Speed program. Tortora will be represented in the $250,000 Azalea Breeders' Cup Stakes that afternoon by Sea Span, who earned a starting berth in the six-furlong dash following last week's impressive victory in the Lady Sonata Stakes.