01/04/2007 12:00AM

Clock Stopper ready to return


NEW ORLEANS - Trainer Dallas Stewart is pointing Clock Stopper for the $100,000 Colonel Power Stakes, one of five stakes races scheduled on the Road to the Derby Kickoff Day card on Jan. 13. The 7-year-old Gilded Time gelding, winner of $779,524 lifetime, was off 19 months with a bowed-tendon injury before his return to the races at Churchill Downs in November. He made an aggressive move after a poor start in that race before tiring to finish last, but Stewart was not alarmed by the result.

"He only had that one start this year," said Stewart. "He went right on the lead and we really didn't want that. But he's doing real good since we got him down here at Fair Grounds."

Clock Stopper, winner of the Grade 2, $400,000 Commonwealth Breeders' Cup at Keeneland in 2005, finished second in the 2005 edition of the Colonel Power.

"He's well accomplished," said Stewart. "We hope he gets back on track in the Colonel Power."

Stewart narrowly missed saddling a rare triple of homebreds Dec. 30 when he sent out Overbrook Farm's Chatham to win the sixth race, then Miner's Lamp to win the seventh, but Flanders Fields had to settle for second in the featured Woodchopper Stakes.

"I've won three on a card, but I don't think I've ever done it with homebreds," said Stewart. "It was a thrill. I thought Flanders Fields ran good. The jock dropped his stick. It might have cost him; I'd have liked to find out. But those things happen. It almost worked out."

Music School ready for next lesson

Music School returns in an optional claiming race on Saturday's Fair Grounds card. The 4-year-old A.P. Indy colt will be making his second start since fracturing a cannon bone during an April 11 workout at Churchill Downs. Trainer Neil Howard is expecting an improved effort after an even trip as the favorite in his return.

"I think he needed that last race," said Howard. "I trained him a little bit cautiously coming back off a long layoff and off an injury, but I thought he got a lot out of the race. I thought he ran well, and he's trained exceptionally well since the race."

Herpes vaccinations required

Fair Grounds has taken stringent measures to ensure that the outbreak of equine herpes that has struck Florida and California does not spread to the New Orleans backstretch. As of Jan. 1, all horses stabled at the track were required to be vaccinated against herpes in the previous 90 days. Trainers were asked to submit a list of all horses under their care with proof of vaccination for equine herpesvirus in the last 90 days by a licensed veterinarian to the racing secretary's office.

Vaccinations are also required for all horses shipping in to Fair Grounds. Any horse entering the stable area must have a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection signed and dated within 72 hours of arrival by a licensed veterinarian. The certificate must include proof of vaccination for equine herpes no less than 14 days or more than 90 days before. No horses from stable areas where a herpes diagnosis has occurred in the last 30 days will be allowed on the grounds.

"The main thing we're concerned with is the equine herpesvirus," said Dr. Tom David, Fair Grounds track veterinarian. "We're always concerned with it, but we don't have any on the premises, and we want to avoid this if at all possible. All tracks will be doing this down the road. It's an airborne virus, and it's a problem that's going to have to be dealt with around the country. The vaccine's not 100 percent effective, but you have to do all you can to combat the virus."