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Updated on 09/16/2011 7:46AM
Coa loses his mount on Booklet
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - The ramifications of the Gulfstream Park stewards' decision to suspend jockey Eibar Coa 30 days for his ride aboard Mr. Livingston in last Saturday's Ft. Lauderdale Handicap continued Friday when trainer John Ward said he has "given up" Coa's call aboard Booklet for the Grade 1 Fountain of Youth Handicap on Feb. 16.
Ward said "in light of all that has transpired with Coa's situation and the uncertainty regarding his days and his appeal, we just don't know which way things are going to go and we don't want to get caught without a rider at the last minute. Right now, it's pretty certain [Jorge] Chavez will ride Booklet in the Fountain of Youth."
Coa guided Booklet to an upset victory over Harlan's Holiday in the on Jan. 19. Ward praised Coa's performance and said he was so impressed with the way he had ridden the horse that he had extended his contract for another race.
Coa, whose appeal hearing has been postponed from Monday until Wednesday morning, said he was unaware he had lost the call aboard Booklet when approached during Friday's card.
"Just my luck," he said when asked to comment on losing the mount aboard one of the favorites for the Fountain of Youth.
Coa is also scheduled to ride Best of the Rest for trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. in next Saturday's Grade 1 Donn Handicap. Plesa said Friday he has no intention of making any change.
Booklet, who has won 5 of 6 starts, including the Holy Bull, got in some major work for the Fountain of Youth on Friday, breezing five furlongs in 1:00.60 before galloping out six furlongs in a slow 1:17.
"He was impressive down the lane, opening up on his workmate, after which he relaxed once pulling away," said Ward. "I did not want him to go ahead and gallop out hard. I told the rider to just fold up on him. I may have done a little too much with Monarchos and I want to take that dimension away and be a little more conservative with this horse."
Ward also said he was "tickled to death" by Snow Dance's performance in last Friday's De La Rose Handicap when beaten a nose by Veil of Avalon in a heart-breaking decision that most observers felt had gone the other way.
"A lot of fans I've heard from couldn't understand how we lost that photo, although I try to stay out of the political traps," Ward said. "Either way I look at it she doesn't know she got beat and I was very pleased at how tough she was down the stretch."
Ferrer gets back on August Storm
Jockey Jose Ferrer, who took off the opening month of the meet to vacation along with his wife, Rosemary Homeister Jr., returned to the saddle Friday and will have the mount back on August Storm, the likely favorite in Sunday's Herecomesthebride Stakes.
Ferrer rode August Storm to victories in the Lulu's Ransom and Hollywood Wildcat Stakes to close out her 2-year-old campaign but was replaced by Jerry Bailey when the filly ran fifth against the boys in the Dave Feldman Stakes earlier in the meet.
"Fortunately for me, Jerry will be out of town Sunday so I'll have another opportunity aboard August Storm," Ferrer said. "She is my big horse right now, along with Spruce Run."
Like August Storm, Spruce Run is also trained by Linda Rice.
Buster's Daydream gets break
Trainer Tim Tullock has four horses stabled at Gulfstream Park, but his multiple stakes-winning colt, Buster's Daydream, is not among them.
Buster's Daydream, who won three juvenile stakes in New York last summer, is in light training at Hartley-DeRenzo Thoroughbreds in Ocala, Fla. Tullock said Buster's Daydream would probably ship into his Laurel Park barn at the beginning of March and be pointed to a spring/summer campaign of sprint races.
"It's a long summer, so we're going to play it by ear," Tullock said. "I saw him last week. He's happy, and he's grown a bunch. I expect a May return."
As a 2-year-old, Buster's Daydream won 4 of 6 starts, including the Flash and Tremont - both Grade 3 stakes - at Belmont, and the Grade 2 Sanford at Saratoga. He last ran Aug. 18 in the Ellis Park Juvenile, where he finished fourth as the 1-5 favorite.
Tullock said there was nothing physically wrong with Buster's Daydream after that race, but the decision was made to give Buster's Daydream the remainder of the year off.
"Just general fatigue," Tullock said. "He was a little small anyway and we wanted to give him time."
Azeff out of intensive care
Yvonne Azeff, the assistant to trainer John Ward who was injured in an accident during training hours on Jan. 27, remained listed in serious condition Friday at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla., but there were encouraging signs regarding her recovery.
Though she remained unconscious, Azeff was taken off her respirator and was breathing on her own.
"She is off the ventilator, and she is being moved out of the intensive care unit today," said Dr. Lawrence Lottenberg, director of trauma and critical care for Memorial Regional Hospital Trauma Center.
According to Lottenberg, Azeff suffered a traumatic brain injury and she is recovering from her injuries, but she is still in a semi-comatose state.
Azeff was injured when the pony she was on was spooked by the horse it was accompanying, got skittish and bounced off a barn wall and then a chain link fence and fell, pinning Azeff underneath. Azeff, 41, was not wearing a helmet at the time.
Repent goes slow
Repent, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile runner-up, on Friday breezed five furlongs in 1:03.40, the slowest of 22 works at the distance. Repent is being pointed to the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds on Feb. 17.
"It was a little slower than I wanted, but I'll work him in company next time," trainer Ken McPeek, who also noted that Repent had a strong five-furlong move in 1:00 last Friday.
McPeek said he hoped to work Repent twice more before the Risen Star.
o Atelier, the fourth-place finisher in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, on Thursday worked three furlongs in 38.40 seconds, her first breeze of the year. Trainer Shug McGaughey is pointing Atelier to the Grade 2, $200,000 Rampart Handicap here on March 2 and then the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn in April.
o At Calder on Friday, Sir Bear worked three furlongs in 37 seconds, his first move since upsetting the Skip Away Handicap here on Jan. 12. Sir Bear will skip the Donn Handicap - he wasn't even nominated - and is expected to train up to the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Handicap on March 30.
- additional reporting by David Grening