01/31/2008 12:00AM

Daaher, Einstein slated for Donn


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - The field for Saturday's Grade 1 Donn Handicap is beginning to crystallize, something that cannot be said for the Grade 2 Swale Stakes that same afternoon.

Daaher, Brass Hat, and Einstein top the prospective lineup for the 1 1/8-mile Donn. Other confirmed starters include trainer Todd Pletcher's pair of A. P. Arrow and Fairbanks, Dr. Googles Boogles, Kiss the Kid, and Spring at Last. The racing office also is listing Better Than Bonds and Divine Park as possible for the race.

Spring at Last arrived from his Southern California base Monday. Trained by Doug O'Neill, Spring at Last is coming off a 1 1/2-length allowance victory over the Santa Anita turf course on Dec. 26, his first start since capturing the Group 2 Godolphin Mile at Nad Al Sheba nine months earlier.

Pletcher confirmed the starting status of A. P. Arrow and Fairbanks on Monday, one day after they worked for the Donn at the Palm Beach Downs training center in Delray Beach, Fla. Neither A. P. Arrow nor Fairbanks has started since finishing first and fifth in the Grade 2 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 23.

"They're both training well and have been pointing for this race for a while," Pletcher said.

Trainer Helen Pitts also confirmed Einstein's starting status after he worked four furlongs in 49.40 seconds under exercise rider Lorna Chavez here Monday.

"He was supposed to go easily but caught another horse, which was good because it helped keep his interest," Pitts said.

Unlike the Donn, interest in the 6 1/2-furlong Swale has been almost nonexistent, and racing secretary Bill Couch may be hard-pressed to find as many as six starters for the race.

One trainer who would have loved to have come if she could have made arrangements in time was Kathy Walsh, who was contemplating supplementing Georgie Boy after scratching him from Saturday's Sunshine Millions Dash at Santa Anita.

"I was thinking about coming, and even talked to Edgar Prado's agent and found out he was open for the race," Walsh said Monday. "I just didn't have enough time to make the proper flight arrangements."

Walsh said that Georgie Boy, winner of the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity in his 2-year-old finale on Sept. 5, would likely make his next start in Santa Anita's San Vincente Stakes.

As of Monday, only Eatons Gift, St. Joe, and Wincat are confirmed starters for the Swale, according to the racing office. It also listed Mr. Foz as a possibility. Trainer Nick Zito said he would consider starting Coal Play if the field comes up short.

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Monday he is now considering the race for Silver Edition, runner-up behind Smooth Air in the Hutcheson Stakes earlier in the meet.

"I was thinking of stretching him out around two turns or at least a mile," Lukas said. "But I'm going to look at the Swale now, since it seems to be coming up a short field."

Lukas also said that his other top 3-year-old prospect, Legacy Thief, is "walking sound" after having been vanned off the track following his third-place finish under Rene Douglas in a second-level allowance race Saturday.

"Even though he appears to be okay, we'll go over him top to bottom to confirm it," Lukas said. "He was just dead tired at the end of that race and stumbled a couple of times, and I think that's why Rene jumped off him past the wire."

Prado closes in on 6,000 wins

The countdown to 6,000 career victories has begun in earnest for jockey Edgar Prado, who is only eight wins shy of that mark entering Wednesday's card. Prado had a big weekend that included victories aboard Benny the Bull and American County on Saturday's Sunshine Millions card and Buffalo Man in Sunday's Appleton Handicap.

"Hopefully, 6,000 will come sooner than later, so I can start working on getting to 7,000," Prado said with a smile.

Prado said staying healthy and a lot of hard work are two of the major reasons he has been able to visit the winner's circle so many times since first coming to the United States in 1986. He also cited all the opportunities and winners he had in Maryland during his early years, plus the help of jockey agents Steve Rushing and Bob Frieze as other factors contributing to his success.

Prado and Benny the Bull just missed the track record for six furlongs winning the Sunshine Millions Sprint. He won the race in 1:08.48.

In his previous start Benny the Bull won the Grade 1 De Francis Dash at Laurel.

"He was very impressive," Prado said. "Better even than when he won the Grade 1 at Laurel in his previous start. I was concerned he might not have any kick left because he was laying so close to a fast pace, but then he just caught another gear when I asked him."

Prado won riding titles here in 2002 and 2005 and was runner-up behind Cornelio Velasquez last year. Prado rode Scat Daddy to victory in the 2007 Florida Derby for Pletcher, but is still seeking a big 3-year-old this winter.

"We're shaking every bush and picking up every stone," Prado said.

Prado also has written a book with John Eisenberg slated to be released in April. The book is called "My Guy Barbaro" and is the story of Prado's career, culminating with his experiences with the 2006 Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro.