09/15/2008 11:00PM

Curlin gets a fast track to work on


ELMONT, N.Y. - Less than two weeks before his attempt to become North America's all-time leading money-earning Thoroughbred in the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont, Curlin worked a solid five furlongs in 1:01.80 Monday morning over the Saratoga training track.

As he did in his major moves before winning the Woodward, Curlin breezed in company with stablemate Hawaii Calls, breaking off with him before finishing slightly in front at the wire and galloping out stronger of the two, according to Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen.

"I think it puts us in a great position,'' Blasi said from Saratoga. "Physically, he's in great condition. I just feel very fortunate to get that work in him on this racetrack.''

Heavy rain hit Saratoga on Sunday, and the track had plenty of moisture in it early Monday morning, according to Blasi. Curlin's work was delayed until after the first renovation break to give the New York Racing Association maintenance crew additional time to get some of the moisture out of the surface. The track was labeled fast for the work.

"They did a great job,'' Blasi said. "Very thankful for the effort.''

Curlin is scheduled to work again next Monday at Saratoga before vanning to Belmont during the week. A victory in the Jockey Club Gold Cup would enable Curlin to surpass Cigar and become North America's all-time leading money earner with more than $10 million in purses.

On Sunday, NYRA released its initial list of 14 invitees to the Gold Cup. Frost Giant and Timber Reserve are considered definites to run, while Mambo in Seattle, who worked a strong seven furlongs in 1:27.44 on Sunday, is under consideration.

Other invitees include A. P. Arrow, Angliana, Commentator, Da' Tara, Evening Attire, Lewis Michael, Merchant Marine, Ravel, Spirit One, and Wanderin Boy. Depending on how many of those run, an alternate list will be published Sunday.

J Be K preps for Vosburgh

J Be K also worked Monday at Saratoga, going five furlongs in 1:01.70 in company with Devereux. J Be K will seek to rebound from his sixth-place finish in the Grade 1 King's Bishop when he meets older horses in the Grade 1 Vosburgh here on Sept. 27.

"He's training into the Vosburgh better than he went into the King's Bishop,'' Blasi said. "Nothing I can put my finger on, but he's on his feet a lot more; maybe it's the cooler weather.''

Blasi said Devereux, third in the Grade 2 Amsterdam at Saratoga on July 28, will be pointed to the Gallant Bob Handicap at Philadelphia Park on Sept. 27.

Music Note headed to Breeders' Cup

Music Note, the easy winner of Saturday's Grade 1 Gazelle, will be pointed to the $2 million Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic at Santa Anita on Oct. 24, her connections confirmed on Monday.

"She's got six weeks," said Mettee, who works as the assistant to Saeed bin Suroor. "We know how tough those older fillies are; that you've got to take on Zenyatta on the Pro-Ride is not going to be easy. Still, it's the Breeders' Cup championships."

Music Note, who has won three Grade 1 races on dirt, has never raced over a synthetic surface, but she has trained on one at Keeneland and in Saratoga, where owner Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum installed a Polytrack at the former Greentree property.

Mettee said Music Note would do the bulk of her training over Belmont Park's main track before shipping to California as late as possible.

"We feel she trains best and just seems more comfortable at this big track at Belmont, so we'll keep her here as long as we could,'' Mettee said.

Music Note's task in the Gazelle was made easier after Country Star flipped in the gate and had to be scratched. Trainer Bobby Frankel said Country Star had cuts on her legs and one on her belly that required stitches. Frankel said he would like to get Country Star to the Spinster at Keeneland on Oct. 5, but "I don't know if I can make it,'' he added.

Indian Blessing set for Gallant Bloom

Indian Blessing worked five furlongs in 59.10 seconds Sunday morning over Belmont's main track, and on Monday her trainer, Bob Baffert, said she would run in Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap.

"She's training well, she's ready, she's jumping out of her skin - we're going to run her,'' Baffert said from Keeneland, where he was attending the yearling sales.

Indian Blessing, last year's champion 2-year-old filly, won the Grade 1 Prioress here in July and the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga on Aug. 2. She was scratched out of the Ruffian here on Sept. 6 because Baffert wanted to keep her sprinting. The Gallant Bloom is 6 1/2 furlongs and would serve as a prep for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita on Oct. 24.

Among those considered definite for the Gallant Bloom are Elope, Porte Bonheur, and Zada Belle. Any Limit, who won the First Flight here and the Honorable Miss at Saratoga, is possible, but her four-furlong work in 48.24 seconds Sunday was her first breeze in seven weeks.

Wide trip may have been a benefit

While having a four-wide trip was not what trainer Kiaran McLaughlin envisioned for Charitable Man in Saturday's Grade 2 Futurity, it may have helped him win the race.

While others, including Gone Astray and the McLaughlin-trained Girolamo, were stuck behind horses and taking dirt in their faces, Charitable Man raced in the clear under Alan Garcia while wide. Charitable Man was able to outfinish Flying Pegasus to earn a one-length victory.

"It seemed like a negative being four or five wide the whole way, but it might have been a positive," McLaughlin said. "It got all jammed up in there and he didn't have to take any of that wet sand in his face. You could run that race back in a month and have a completely different result."

McLaughlin and owner William Warren now must decide between running Charitable Man back in three weeks in the Grade 1 Champagne here on Oct. 4, or waiting for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

McLaughlin said Girolamo, who finished fourth in the Futurity, could run back in the Champagne, pending what Sheikh Mohammed does with several of his other juvenile prospects.

Which BC race for Doremifasollatido?

Coming off her two-length victory in the Grade 2 Matron Stakes on Saturday, Doremifasollatido is headed to the Breeders' Cup. Question is, will it be the Juvenile Fillies on turf or Pro-Ride?

"I think she can run on either and she's run on neither,'' part-owner Susan Moore said from the yearling sales at Keeneland. "It's no riskier to put her in one or the other.''

Doremifasollatido, who finished seven lengths behind Mani Bhavan in the Grade 2 Adirondack on Aug. 13, was being pointed to the Miss Grillo Stakes on turf here later this month. But after consulting with handicapping sheets guru Len Friedman - and with some encouragement from racing secretary P.J. Campo - Susan and her husband, John Moore, elected to run their filly in the Matron.

"They were right,'' Susan Moore said.

In late August, trainer Jimmy Jerkens worked Doremifasollatido on the turf at Saratoga and raved about the move to the Moores. Add in the fact that Fortunate Damsel, a half-sister to the filly, is a graded stakes winner on turf, and that surface becomes intriguing.

"He was very impressed with the way she handled the turf,'' Moore said. "Obviously, she's bred for the turf.''

* Alan Garcia, the leading rider at Saratoga, has dropped an appeal of a careless-riding suspension during that meet, and is suspended through Sunday.