10/04/2005 11:00PM

The Daddy's plan: Wire the Classic


BOSSIER CITY, La. - The Daddy began preparations for the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Wednesday, when he went back to the track for the first time since his win in the Grade 2, $750,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on Saturday.

The Daddy jogged a couple of miles at his Belmont Park base, said his owner, Greg Norman.

"He was full of himself. Very, very fresh," said Norman.

The Daddy was a front-running winner of the Super Derby. Norman decided to start him in that race because The Daddy looked to be its controlling speed. Some of that same reasoning has gone into the decision to shoot for the Classic, which will be run at Belmont on Oct. 29.

"Even though it's a $4 million race and he's going to be facing some very, very tough older horses, I believe we're going to have another tactical advantage," said Norman. "I think we're going to be able to get the lead, set the pace, and whenever you're in a race, if you can be on the lead and you're dictating the pace to the other horses, then you have an advantage."

Norman said apprentice Pablo Morales, who was aboard The Daddy in the Super Derby, has the mount. Salvador Gonzalez, a former groom for trainer Bob Baffert, trains The Daddy. Gonzalez is a private trainer for Norman's eight-horse racing stable and joined the operation in December 2003.

Norman has five horses in New York and three in California, where Norman resides.

Norman's other top colt is Papi Chullo, who earlier this year was second in the $100,000 Sham and fourth in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth. Papi Chullo is coming back from a pulled muscle over his back, which was sustained when he got cast in his stall, said Norman.

The Daddy, who was fitted with a leather prong bit for the Super Derby to give his rider more control, is a son of Valid Expectations. The Daddy started his career with two smashing sprint wins and was stretching out from seven furlongs to 1 1/4 miles for the Super Derby. For his win in the Super Derby, he earned a Beyer of 95.

A.P. Arrow to Classic?

A.P. Arrow closed fast to finish second by a neck in the Super Derby and is being considered for the Breeders' Cup Classic, said Wayne Lukas, who trains A.P. Arrow for Michael Paulson.

"We've got another 10 days to make up our minds," Lukas said Wednesday. "It's a possibility because he is a true mile and a quarter horse and his style will fit Belmont very well. With the big sweeping turns, he should fit very well there."

A.P. Arrow hit some costly traffic in the 10-horse field Saturday.

"If we could have got him out and clear at the top of the stretch, I think we had a great chance to win it," said Lukas. "We're a come-from-behind horse, and that's one of the things you have to deal with. You have to get clear. He ran very big. We were very pleased with him."

Lukas said another option for A.P. Arrow is to wait for the Strub series in California.

Nolan's Cat in Kentucky

Nolan's Cat, who finished third in the Super Derby, is in Kentucky and came out of the race in good order, said his trainer, Dale Romans.

"We haven't decided yet what to do with him," said Romans.

Military Major, fourth in the Super Derby, has options for his next start, said his trainer, Michael Caraman. Military Major has conditions to run through, or he could shoot for one of the last 3-year-old stakes of the year, the $150,000 Oklahoma Derby at Remington on Oct. 21.

Smokescreen, who was fifth in the Super Derby, is back at Monmouth, said his trainer, Ben Perkins Jr. One possibility for Smokescreen's next start is the Grade 3, $250,000 Discovery on the Breeders' Cup undercard, said Perkins.

* Track officials will meet later this year to decide whether the Super Derby will remain at the 10-furlong distance to which the race was moved back this year after being run at 1 1/8 miles for three years. The purse of the race was also boosted to $750,000 from $500,000.

"I'm certainly very comfortable with the conditions of the race as they are right now, including the distance and purse," said Ray Tromba, vice president of racing operations at Louisiana Downs. "I clearly am very fond of the mile and a quarter distance. I think it's the right thing to do for the race at the right time of year."

* Blinding Prospect is one of several contenders in the ninth race Friday, a $50,000 claimer on turf. The race is one of several quality races on the card Friday.