10/19/2003 11:00PM

Class Above turns in blazing half-mile work

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ARCADIA, Calif. - If there was any doubt who the second choice will be behind Halfbridled in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies, it was removed Monday morning when Class Above worked a brilliant half-mile at Santa Anita.

Though trainer Bob Baffert said he was looking for an easy move, Class Above zipped four furlongs in 45.40 seconds over Santa Anita's main track under a hold from exercise rider Dana Barnes. Class Above, the 16-length winner of the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies, spotted another horse working seven to eight lengths in front of her, closed the gap to two lengths by the wire, and galloped out past that horse entering the turn. The work was the second-fastest of 39 at the distance.

"It wasn't so much she saw the other horse as it was the dirt started hitting her in the face," Barnes said. "Normally, she's fine, but the last week or so she's been a little bit more cranked up than usual. I definitely had a hold of her."

Baffert actually called an audible moments before the work, instructing Barnes to break off from the half-mile pole rather than the five-furlong marker. Baffert said that because Class Above is a light filly, he wasn't looking for her to do much.

"I'd say she went too fast, but the way she did that, I really can't say that," Baffert said. He paused to think about his other Juvenile Fillies entrant: "Poor old Victory U. S. A., I'd better get her back out there and pump her back up."

Baffert wasn't upset with Class Above's fast work because Barnes "had a hold of her and the track is extremely fast. That made the time look a little better," he said. "That was pretty incredible."

Class Above was one of eight Juvenile Fillies contenders to put in workouts Monday from coast to coast.

Zosima, the Arlington-Washington Lassie winner, went four furlongs in 46.80 seconds while working in company outside of stablemate Sobriquet. A third horse, not from the barn of Zosima's trainer, Eoin Harty, joined in the work outside of Zosima, making it more like a race. Zosima emerged from the pack in front at the wire.

Trainer Nicholas Hines got his first look at Vino Tinto, who just arrived in his barn last week after being purchased privately. Vino Tinto impressed Hines with a six-furlong move in 1:13.40 under Ryan Fogelsonger, who will ride the filly in the race.

"She did everything right - she finished her last quarter in 23-and-three, and I like the way she galloped out," Hines said.

Be Gentle, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, was sent out well before dawn, working four furlongs in 49.60 seconds.

At Hollywood Park, Hollywood Story worked five furlongs in 58.80 seconds, the fastest of 28 moves at the distance. Her stablemate, Tarlow, went the same distance in 1:00. Trainer John Shirreffs said he was not looking for something quite so fast from Hollywood Story. "We'll have to see how she recovers, but it didn't look like she was all-out to do it," Shirreffs said.

Shadow of Mine went four furlongs in 50.40 seconds at Hollywood Park, though her trainer, Beau Greely, caught her a full second faster.

At Belmont Park, Society Selection, the Frizette winner, worked seven furlongs in 1:28.06 over the training track. Society Selection, under regular rider Ray Ganpath, began the work eight lengths behind stablemate Banker's Mint and finished five in front.

"I thought she went okay," trainer Allen Jerkens said. "She finished well. She hasn't had any experience around two turns, so I had her come through the inside of the other horse."

- additional reporting by Karen M. Johnson