03/14/2006 12:00AM

Crucial test for New Joysey Jeff

Milk It Mick, shown winning the Grade 1 Kilroe Mile, will run next in the Arcadia Handicap on April 8.

ARCADIA, Calif. - New Joysey Jeff will get less attention than likely favorite Bob and John in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes on Saturday, but few 3-year-olds are improving as rapidly. Trained by Mark Glatt, New Joysey Jeff was making only his third start when he finished second to Refinery in a Feb. 25 allowance, which, Glatt said, "was kind of a training race."

In his first start around two turns, New Joysey Jeff was rated behind a slow pace and finished well while earning a career-best Beyer Speed Figure.

"He went from a 77 to an 85 to a 92 Beyer," Glatt noted, while hoping he has a Derby colt. "This weekend is going to tell the story. If he happens to finish strong, in the top three, we'll have to look at the next start. Whether that's the Santa Anita Derby, or Arkansas, or the Blue Grass, I don't know."

Alex Solis rides New Joysey Jeff, sired by Bright Launch. Glatt said that Solis "is really high on this horse. He obviously is not going to take off Brother Derek, but he wants to stay with this horse as long as he can."

Surgery and blinkers aid Refinery

Refinery also is improving, and he breezed an easy (unrecorded) three furlongs Tuesday under Tyler Baze while preparing for Saturday's 1 1/16-mile San Felipe. Refinery won last out with a 96 Beyer, which was his first start with blinkers and his second start since surgery to remove an undescended testicle.

"I think both [changes] helped," trainer Richard Mandella said. "He's always been a happy, play-around guy; the blinkers helped him focus."

Refinery's rivals in the San Felipe may include Bob and John, A.P. Warrior, New Joysey Jeff, Racketeer, Point Determined, Point of Impact, Simon Pure, and Sky Diving.

Glory Pass: One that got away

Refinery was purchased for $425,000 by B. Wayne Hughes, but another well-regarded 3-year-old trained by Mandella slipped through the cracks at auction. Glory Pass was a $29,000 buyback by breeder Clovelly Farms at the 2004 Keeneland September yearling sale.

"A lot has happened since then," Mandella said.

When Glory Pass was offered for sale, his sire, Tiznow, was unproven - and his half-brother, Alkaased, was not yet a Grade 1 winner. Glory Pass scored an impressive maiden win on Feb. 10 in his third career start and first turf route. He runs again Saturday in the $75,000 Pasadena Stakes at a mile on turf. Glory Pass worked a half-mile Tuesday; his work also did not make the tab.

Minister Eric back in fine fettle

Graded stakes winner Minister Eric was scratched from the Santana Mile on Saturday because his right front foot was sore, presumably from stepping on something, said Mandella, who trains him. Minister Eric had recovered by Tuesday, Mandella said, and could return in a race such as the Grade 3 Tokyo City Handicap Cup on April 1.

Leave Me Alone eyes B. Thoughtful

Grade 1 winner Leave Me Alone worked five furlongs Tuesday in 1:00.80, but trainer Eric Kruljac said the 4-year-old filly would skip the $125,000 Irish O'Brien Stakes on Friday and aim for the $150,000 B. Thoughtful Stakes for California-bred fillies and mares at Hollywood Park.

Last summer at Saratoga, Leave Me Alone won the Test Stakes by 7 3/4 lengths. Five for 12 overall, she finished third in the Grade 1 Santa Monica Handicap in her most recent start Jan. 29.

Kruljac also worked Turf Paradise Derby winner Keagan on Tuesday (seven furlongs in 1:26.80) and said that this improving colt would run next in the $600,000 WinStar Derby at Sunland Park on April 1.

Quiet Kim: Lucky or good?

Was it a bias-aided fluke, or did Quiet Kim emerge as California's second-leading filly Sunday with a runner-up finish to Balance in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks? That will be the question leading to the Ashland Stakes on April 8 at Keeneland.

"I think you'll see her in the Ashland because she likes a glib surface," trainer Bob Hess said.

Quiet Kim lost her first seven starts before winning a maiden race Feb. 10, and her second-place Oaks finish was largely the product of a slow pace and a bias that favored the rail.

However, Hess was reminded by trainer Bob Baffert that Quiet Kim's sire Real Quiet lost his first six starts before getting his act together, and he won the Kentucky Derby. Hess said the Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn is the second option. Either way, he expects to start Quiet Kim once more before making plans for the Kentucky Oaks.

Meanwhile, trainer David Hofmans said a decision would be made on Thursday regarding Santa Anita Oaks winner Balance, specifically if she would start again before the Kentucky Oaks.

Likewise, Wild Fit's trainer Patrick Biancone said no decision had been made regarding her campaign.

Runaway Dancer earns Grade 2 try

Runaway Dancer ran himself back into a graded stakes with a sharp second-place finish Sunday in a classified allowance. His next race will be the Grade 2 Arcadia Handicap at a mile on turf April 8, the same day stablemate Brother Derek runs in the Santa Anita Derby. Trainer Dan Hendricks used the Arcadia last year to prep Runaway Dancer for the $350,000 Jim Murray Handicap, which he won, and will follow the same pattern this year.

Brother Derek, meanwhile, returned to the track Monday for the first time since winning the Santa Catalina Stakes on March 4. Hendricks said Brother Derek will gallop up to a half-mile breeze early next week.

Milk It Mick also in Arcadia

Milk It Mick, upset winner of the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe Mile on March 4, will try to prove that the Kilroe was not a fluke when he runs next in the one-mile Arcadia. Trainer Jim Cassidy toyed with the idea of shipping Milk It Mick to a richer race, but said, "I want to keep him on the same course."

Cassidy hopes to spring another upset Saturday when Tent makes his second start of the meet in the $75,000 Pasadena Stakes for 3-year-olds at a mile on turf. Tent finished a flat fourth in a Feb. 18 allowance race, his first start back from a three-month layoff. Cassidy said the colt may have been short. He said he lost a week of training after Tent's legs got stuck over the stall webbing, then another week when Tent spiked a temperature.

"Maybe he wasn't 100 percent, but he's fit now," Cassidy said.

* Too Much Bling worked a half-mile Tuesday and is expected to ship to Aqueduct for his next start April 8 in the Grade 3 Bay Shore at seven furlongs. Too Much Bling, the Baffert-trained winner of the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes on Feb. 12, worked in 48.40 seconds.