03/19/2009 11:00PM

Clement shoots for seventh Orchid


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Christophe Clement has already put his stamp on Gulfstream Park's 1 1/2-mile Orchid Stakes, having won the race a record six times. He will shoot for lucky number seven on Sunday when he sends the steadily improving Lamentation up against the heavily favored Criticism in the Grade 3 turf fixture for fillies and mares.

Lamentation has started four times since coming to the U.S. from Italy last summer with trainer Marco Gasparini, remaining behind with Clement after finishing fourth in Saratoga's Grade 3 Glen Falls. In three subsequent starts, Lamentation was third in Calder's Grade 2 La Prevoyante and won an allowance here in her 2009 debut before finishing five lengths behind Criticism in the paceless The Very One on Feb. 22.

"I didn't think she would be a stakes filly when she first came into the barn, but she's just kept getting better and better both during her training and in her races," said Clement, who trains Lamentation for Aston House Stud. "She's an improving filly and I think she deserves a shot in the Orchid. No doubt Criticism is the one to beat again. She's a very good filly, and what scares me is that there might be no pace again on Sunday. We need a minimum of pace or it's going to be a walkover again for the favorite."

There will be something of a historical connection for Clement when he sends out Lamentation against Criticism on Sunday. Clement trained Criticism's dam, Innuendo, through an outstanding career that included victories in both The Very One and the Orchid in 2001.

"Innuendo was a good filly, very tough," said Clement. "She just got beat in the E.P. Taylor that same year. She was bred at home by Gerald Leigh, who was a wonderful owner for me. He passed away several years ago and he's really been missed in this barn."

Clement said that of his six Orchid winners, he thought 1999 winner Coretta was probably the most talented. Coretta, who was also owned by Leigh, started a streak of four consecutive Orchid victories for Clement.

"All of the horses I won this race with were nice," said Clement. "Coretta was very nice."

Plans for Hello Broadway uncertain

Trainer Barclay Tagg said he is willing to toss out Hello Broadway's seventh-place finish as the 2-1 favorite in last Saturday's Tampa Bay Derby.

Hello Broadway was never a serious factor after racing extremely wide throughout the Grade 3 race.

"I don't know why he was out there where he was right from the start," said Tagg. "But he's done real well since getting back here from Tampa."

Tagg noted that his assistant, Robyn Smullen, "has gotten on him the last couple of mornings and said he's perfect."

Hello Broadway had been listed among the leading Kentucky Derby candidates prior to his race in Tampa after closing out his 2-year-old campaign finishing second in the Grade 3 Nashua and opening the 3-year-old season finishing second behind Capt. Candyman Can in the Grade 2 Hutcheson.

"I'm not sure where we'll go next," said Tagg. "I might try to find an easier spot. If there is one. He's still eligible for a first-level allowance race, but that won't get me any money for the Derby."

Tagg's colleague Ian Wilkes said an allowance race is likely next for his promising 3-year-old prospect Warrior's Reward following his poor showing in the Tampa Derby. Warrior's Reward, second behind Dunkirk in his previous start, finished eighth after pressing the early pace making his stakes debut at Tampa.

"I wanted him at the back of the pack and he wound up much too close to the pace," said Wilkes. "I'm just going to take my time with him and try to get his confidence back in an allowance race. I still think he's going to be a very nice horse."

Maiden winners will skip Swale

Trainer Tom Albertrani, who has already won five stakes at the meet and will be favored to take a sixth with Criticism in the Orchid, has decided to pass next Saturday's Grade 2 Swale with his lightly raced 3-year-olds Captain Rio and San Valentino. Both horses are coming off impressive maiden wins and were among the 16 horses nominated to the seven-furlong Swale.

"I've got Captain Rio in an allowance race on Saturday and I'm going to pass the Swale as well with San Valentino," said Albertrani. "I was tempted to run one of them in there but decided I don't want to go up the ladder too quickly with either of them. They both need a little more experience before I do that."

Albertrani does have a couple of stakes bullets to fire later in the meet with Tomcito in the Skip Away on April 4 and My Magic Moment in the Boynton Beach on April 18.

Striking Dancer preps for Bonnie Miss

Striking Dancer, who could go off as the second choice behind Justwhistledixie in the Grade 2 Bonnie Miss, worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 at Palm Meadows on Friday in final preparation for the assignment.

Striking Dancer, who has been nominated by trainer Ken McPeek for the English Oaks, will be making her first start over dirt in the Bonnie Miss. She won a first-level allowance race over the turf here in her 3-year-old debut on Feb. 25.

* Striking Tomisue worked a half-mile in 49.00 seconds at Palm Meadows on Friday. Trained by Nick Zito, Striking Tomisue is among the nominees for Saturday's Grade 2 Rampart.

* Friday's area workers also included Hypocrite, who posted a bullet four furlongs in 47.40 at Calder. Hypocrite, winner of the Sunshine Stakes earlier this month, is nominated for the Grade 3 Appleton on Florida Derby Day.

* The portable rail was set at 96 feet for Thursday's program, the farthest it has been out since the newly constructed turf course opened five years ago. The course was listed as yielding for the afternoon's first scheduled race on the grass but was upgraded all the way to firm while the horses were in the paddock for the second of the day's three turf events.