05/20/2010 11:00PM

Colonial next for Kindergarden Kid


ELMONT, N.Y. − Much of the focus going into Wednesday's first-level turf allowance race at Belmont Park centered on New Madrid, who was trying to use the race as a springboard to the Belmont Stakes.

But at the conclusion of the race, most of the talk was about Kindergarden Kid, who made a powerful four-wide rally turning for home to record a three-quarter-length victory in the $53,000 race. The win was the second straight for Kindergarden Kid, a son of Dynaformer owned by Roy and Gretchen Jackson's Lael Stable and trained by Barclay Tagg.

Kindergarden Kid ran 1 1/8 miles over "good" turf in 1:49.74 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 91.

"I expected him to do that, but I've been around long enough to know that it doesn't always happen," Tagg said Friday. "He was really on the muscle, feeling good, doing good."

Tagg said his only concern going into the race was whether the distance would be too short for Kindergarden Kid, who had won a maiden race going 1 3/8 miles at Gulfstream on March 31. Tagg had hoped to run in an allowance race at 1 1/4 miles instead of 1 1/8 miles.

Coming off that win, Kindergarden Kid will be pointed to the Grade 2, $500,000 Colonial Turf Cup on June 19. That race is scheduled for 1 3/16 miles. It is designed as a prep for the $600,000 Virginia Derby at 1 1/4 miles July 17.

Meanwhile, trainer Tim Ice on Friday officially removed New Madrid from consideration for the Belmont. New Madrid faded to fifth after setting the early pace. Ice also indicated he would look to run New Madrid back on the dirt in a first-level allowance race later in the meet.

"We'll let him develop instead of push him," Ice said. "He did run straight this time. The blinkers helped him."

Ice equipped New Madrid with blinkers for Thursday's race after New Madrid raced erratically through the stretch of the Arkansas Derby.

Spangled Star works for Belmont

Spangled Star, who figures to be the longest shot on the board in the Belmont Stakes, worked six furlongs in 1:13.50 at Aqueduct. He worked in company with D' Funnybone, who was timed for the same distance in 1:14.50. Spangled Star opened up five lengths on D' Funnybone and maintained that margin, according to Larry Roman, owner of Spangled Star.

D' Funnybone is scheduled to run in the Woody Stephens.

Cornelio Velasquez was aboard Spangled Star for the workout, but no rider has been determined for the Belmont.

Spangled Star was purchased privately by New York owner Larry Roman following his maiden win at Laurel on Jan. 2. After finishing third in a first-level allowance race at Laurel on Feb. 24, Spangled Star finished third in the Grade 3 Withers at Aqueduct on April 24.

Roman said he knows his horse will be a longshot, but he noted Da' Tara won the Belmont at 38-1 against Big Brown, who was 1-2.

"I would have given you 100-1 Da' Tara couldn't win, and he did win," Roman said. "I'm just taking a shot. If I finish last, it's not going to shock me. Sometimes you come into a race like this as a big longshot. It's a no-lose situation as opposed to Big Brown. It's just an extreme thrill to be in the race."

Convocation works for Met Mile

Convocation, runner-up to Le Grand Cru in the Grade 3 Westchester on April 30, worked a strong five furlongs in 1:00.50 Friday morning over the Belmont Park main track in preparation for a start in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on May 31.

The work was the third-fastest of 17 at the distance.

Convocation has never finished worse than second in four starts at Belmont, including a second-place finish to Kensei in the Dwyer. In the Westchester, Convocation dropped back at the quarter pole before rerallying to get up for second.

"The race the other day was kind of strange," Jerkens said. "He was up a little closer than I thought he would be. My father's horse [Le Grand Cru] pulled out into him a little bit, and he came off the bridle. He got him to go outside and smacked him, and he came on again. It was good to see him come back on again."

Though Edgar Prado rode Convocation in the Westchester, he has taken a call aboard Kensei in the Met. Kent Desormeaux, aboard for both of Convocation's career victories, will be back aboard for the Met.

Kensei will ship here March 27 for the Met Mile. Most recently, Kensei finished seventh in the Churchill Downs Sprint Handicap over a sloppy track.

Flat Bold, listed as a possible starter for the Met, worked five furlongs in 1:02.64 on Friday.

Bribon, last year's Met Mile winner, worked four furlongs in 46.74 seconds Friday morning over Belmont's main track. Trainer Todd Pletcher said Bribon would not run in the Met.

Serpe looks to keep rolling

Since returning to New York from south Florida, trainer Phil Serpe has a record of 6-4-2 from 17 starts in New York. Four of those wins have come at Belmont.

Sunday, Serpe will seek to keep the momentum going when he brings Mythical Yarn back to the races in a first-level New York-bred allowance race at Belmont Park. Mythical Yarn has not been out since finishing second in this condition last Oct. 12 at Belmont.

Serpe said the horse wintered at Aiken, S.C., and began breezing there before coming to New York.

"I think she's ready to go over there and run," Serpe said.

Dominic Schettino brings Song for Pupcake back off a similar layoff. She won a maiden turf race Oct. 11 at Belmont. Schettino said that he opted not to run the filly at Aqueduct because he preferred to keep her around one turn.

Song for Pupcake spent the winter at Goldmark Farm in Ocala, Fla.