09/29/2006 12:00AM

Commentator will train up to BC Sprint


ELMONT, N.Y. - Commentator, the talented New York-bred gelding who finished 10th as the favorite in the Grade 1 Forego on Sept. 2, will attempt to train up to the Breeders' Cup Sprint, trainer Nick Zito said Friday.

Zito said Commentator left Saratoga on Friday for Keeneland, where he will train over the Polytrack for the next several weeks. Commentator, who won the Grade 1 Whitney last year, has run only twice in 2006. In July, he won the Mugatea Stakes against New York-breds. In the Forego, Commentator was compromised by a slow break, never was able to make the lead, and beat just one horse.

Though Commentator is one of 10 nominees to next Saturday's Grade 1 Vosburgh, Zito said the gelding would not be ready to run in that race.

"First of all he needs more time,'' Zito said. "That was a rough race he ran in.''

Zito said Commentator did not show any ill effects immediately after the Forego, but noted that "he jammed a shoulder a few days after the race. He's been training like a bear now.''

Commentator has won 8 of 11 career starts, including the Whitney and last year's Perryville Stakes at Keeneland.

Zito also said that Sun King, runner-up in the Met Mile and Whitney and third in the Woodward, will train up to the $5 million Classic and C P West, runner-up in the Futurity, will train up to the Juvenile. Sun King will remain in Saratoga for a few more weeks before shipping to Churchill.

Valid Notebook another solid Reynolds claim

Pat Reynolds appears to have made another solid claim in Valid Notebook, who will try to slay the giant, Discreet Cat, in Sunday's Grade 2, $150,000 Jerome Breeders' Cup Handicap.

Reynolds and owner Paul Pompa took Valid Notebook from trainer Stanley Hough for $65,000 out of his debut on Jan. 13 at Gulfstream Park. After Reynolds gave him time off to take care of some shin issues, Valid Notebook has come back to win 2 of 5 starts, including a second-level allowance race by three lengths here on Sept. 9.

"Paul knows that Stanley likes to run them where they belong, and we took a shot,'' Reynolds said. "He told me to take a look at him and I liked what I saw and I got the green light from Paul. Hopefully, he'll be another good claim on my resume.''

In the last few years, Reynolds has won stakes races with former claimers Peeping Tom, Eltawaasul, Tom's Thunder, and Alysweep.

Reynolds said he doesn't believe he has anything to lose by running Valid Notebook against unbeaten and heavily favored Discreet Cat in the Jerome.

"You're pulling 10 pounds, your horse is doing super, he's a proven commodity at Belmont, there's a possibility of a wet track, and it's a small field,'' Reynolds said. "We'll take a shot.''

Funny Cide targets Empire Classic

Funny Cide, coming off disappointing efforts in the Woodward and Brooklyn handicaps in his last two starts, is being pointed to the $250,000 Empire Classic against New York-breds here on Oct. 21.

On Friday, Funny Cide worked four furlongs in 47.43 seconds over Belmont's main track, his first breeze since finishing fourth in the Brooklyn here on Sept. 16.

"He worked real good, we were pleased with it,'' trainer Barclay Tagg said. "He seems fine. He's eating good, looks good, he's feeling good. If he's doing real good by then, we'll run him in it.''

Funny Cide, the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, beat statebreds in the Kings Point Handicap at Aqueduct in April.

Showing Up likely to train up to Mile

Tagg said that Showing Up, his top 3-year-old of this year, is likely to train up to the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile. Tagg added that he would probably pre-enter Showing Up to both the Mile and the $3 million Turf.

Showing Up is 2 for 3 on turf, with wins in the Grade 1 Secretariat and the $1 million Colonial Turf Cup. He suffered his first grass defeat when he finished third to Cacique in the Man o' War here on Sept. 9.

"The Turf is not going to be easy and it's a mile and a half,'' Tagg said. "Although I think he can handle the distance, I don't know if he can handle it against the Caciques and the Europeans of the world. I think he'd run good in either one.''

Velazquez says heel is 'much better'

Jockey John Velazquez, who has been bothered by an injury to his left heel, resumed riding Friday and said he is feeling "much better.''

Velazquez had ridden only once in the last week - that being Sept. 22 - and had taken off all his mounts on three occasions. He rode two mounts on Friday - winning the seventh aboard Brushed Gold - and was scheduled to ride Saturday at Hawthorne and back here on Sunday.

Velazquez said he was in no pain while riding, but the heel would bother him as he walked from the jockeys' room to the paddock. An MRI taken Thursday night did not reveal any ligament damage, Velazquez said.

"It only hurts when I put my heel down,'' Velazquez said. "It doesn't bother me at all when I'm riding. It felt like I was stepping on a nail. It's much better today.''

Velazquez, winner of the last two Eclipse awards, missed about eight weeks of action in the spring due to a fractured collarbone sustained in a spill at Keeneland.

* Trainer Stanley Hough ended an 0-for-35 drought in New York on Friday by winning with both of his starters on the card. Tiz Stormin ($6.80) won the opener while Deputy Indy ($12.20) won the fifth. They represented Hough's first winners on this circuit since Mystic Ruler won the opener on July 7. Hough had eight seconds during that span, including six at Saratoga, where he went 0 for 19.

* Jockey Pablo Fragoso will be out of action until Oct. 11. He is suffering from body soreness due to a spill he was involved in here on Sept. 22.