01/20/2010 12:00AM

Connections eye repeat course for Telling


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Telling is to resume galloping this week at Oaklawn following a freshening and has at least one major objective for the coming year: a return trip to the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga.

"I think that would be a definite goal," said Steve Hobby, who trains Telling for Alex and JoAnn Lieblong. "We enjoyed it there last year . . . and we won."

Telling, who was 33-1, closed strongly to prove two lengths best over a field that included Breeders' Cup champ Better Talk Now. Telling proceeded to finish third in the Grade 1 Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont Park in October. He then wrapped up his season with a seventh-place finish to Conduit in the Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 7.

"He bled - it wasn't bad," Hobby said of the Breeders' Cup.

Following the race Telling was turned out at Diamond A Farm in Lexington, Ky. He arrived at Oaklawn on Jan. 11.

"He couldn't have come in any better," Hobby said. "He looks super.

"We haven't really plotted a course for him yet. We'll do that here later."

Hobby did not rule out a return trip to the Breeders' Cup Turf, which this year will be held at the horse's typical fall base of Churchill Downs. And, depending on how Telling progresses in his training, he could start his season late in the meet at Oaklawn. He is 3 for 4 in Hot Springs. Telling is by A.P. Indy and the Grade 1-winning mare Well Chosen and has long been one of the grandest-looking horses based at Oaklawn.

Hobby has a full barn on hand here, and after going 2 for 5 over opening weekend sits atop the local trainer standings with Steve Margolis and David Vance. Other stakes-quality runners in his barn include Tiz Miz Sue, who was second to future champion She Be Wild in the Grade 3 Arlington Washington Lassie back in September. Hobby said her first stakes objective is the $75,000 Martha Washington for 3-year-old fillies at a mile Feb. 13.

Grand Sensation is being pointed for the $50,000 King Cotton on Jan. 30, said Hobby.

Euphony making return on Saturday

Euphony, who has not raced since a fifth-place finish in the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher at Monmouth in August, is set to make her return Saturday in the $75,000 Pippin at Oaklawn, said her trainer, Donnie Von Hemel.

Euphony has never lost in Hot Springs, where she has compiled a 4-for-4 record since winning her career debut here in 2008. She won three stakes last year, including the Grade 3 Arlington Matron.

The Pippin, for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles, could have a field of about six to seven starters, said Oaklawn stakes coordinator Craig Lytel. He said the race could also draw Afleet Deceit, Be Fair, defending champ French Kiss, Miss Red Delicious, and Tammy's Victress.

Going Ballistic to Connally Cup

Going Ballistic, a millionaire who resides in Von Hemel's barn at Oaklawn, is being pointed for the Grade 3, $200,000 Connally Cup. The 1 1/8-mile turf race will be run at Sam Houston Race Park on Jan. 30.

Going Ballistic is a stakes winner on both dirt and turf, and Von Hemel said the distance of the Connally Cup is one of the main appeals of the race. Going Ballistic's biggest wins have come at 1 1/8 miles, including the Grade 2 Super Derby. Von Hemel also noted that Going Ballistic was second by a head in the race the last time the Connally was run, in 2008.

Sam Houston's meet was canceled last year because of damage from Hurricane Ike.

Memorial service for DiLaura

A memorial service for Gerry DiLaura, who for 18 years was the agent for jockey Luis Quinonez, is scheduled to be held in the chaplaincy building in Oaklawn's stable area at 5 p.m. Monday. DiLaura died in December. His daughter, Kelly Martinez, will be in from California to spend the weekend at Oaklawn.

DiLaura was a fixture in Hot Springs, where Quinonez won the riding title in 2007. The memorial service will include a slide show. More information is available from Kelly Petalino at (405) 640-1116, or her husband, trainer Joe Petalino.

* Flying Private, who has not raced since finishing sixth to future champion Summer Bird in the Belmont Stakes, makes his return Friday in the eighth race. A $40,000 optional claimer with second-level allowance conditions, it will be run over six furlongs. Apprentice Freddie Lenclud has the mount for trainer D. Wayne Lukas.