02/07/2008 12:00AM

Desormeaux makes up for slow start


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Kent Desormeaux got off to a slow start during the opening weeks of the Gulfstream Park meet but received the best confidence booster any rider could want to hear under the circumstances. It came from trainer Bill Mott.

"Bill told me not to worry, to just be patient," Desormeaux said. "And boy was he ever right."

Nobody in the jockeys' room has been hotter over the past several weeks than Desormeaux. The majority of his success has come for Mott, who has vaulted to the top of the trainer standings after also getting off to an uncharacteristically slow start in January.

Among the horses Desormeaux and Mott teamed up to win with here over the last two weeks were War Monger in the Sunshine Millions Turf and the undefeated 3-year-old A.P. Indy colt Alaazo, who drew off to an impressive entry-level allowance win Monday.

"Bill is a tremendous asset to have in my corner," Desormeaux said. "I was really impressed the other day with Alaazo. He's very professional for a horse who has run just twice, but I also think he has a lot of room for development. He's certainly bred to be a superstar, so I'm looking forward to riding him in the future."

Desormeaux, who posted his 28th victory of the meet aboard the Mott-trained Scolara in Thursday's fourth race, is in his second full season at Gulfstream Park.

"It was good timing when I came down here last year, and I'm certainly enjoying myself," Desormeaux said. "My only regret is that I didn't come east about five years ago after Jerry Bailey retired."

Informed Decision eyes Davona Dale

About the only mistake Desormeaux has made during his recent hot streak came Saturday aboard Mott's 3-year-old filly prospect J Z Warrior. He inadvertently struck Informed Decision, ridden by John Velazquez, across the nose as the two horses battled furiously on the lead near midstretch. J Z Warrior eventually eked out a narrow victory before being disqualified and placed second for what the stewards called "misuse of the whip."

The win was the second in as many starts for Informed Decision, a daughter of Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos who is trained by Jonathan Sheppard for the Augustin Stable.

Sheppard said on Thursday: "I really just got a chance to talk to my rider for the first time today, and he said he thought our filly had the other horse measured and would have won if not getting struck like she did. He said the incident really bothered her and perhaps scared her a little to the point she was a bit hesitant the rest of the way."

Sheppard said he would make sure the incident had no lasting effects on Informed Decision when he works her prior to her next start.

"I'll probably work her in company once or twice just to reassure her she's not going to get hit again," Sheppard said. "She's got a good attitude and is very competitive, so hopefully this won't affect her in the future."

Sheppard said he's considering bringing Informed Decision back for the Grade 2 Davona Dale at a mile on March 2.

"The one thing I'm reasonably certain about this filly is that she'll go further, since she's bred for distance from top to bottom," Sheppard said.

Minister's Joy wins turf allowance

Minister's Joy got back to the winner's circle for the first time in nearly a year when he rallied down the middle of the track to defeat a strong field of allowance rivals in Thursday's main event on the turf. The win was the first for the homebred son of Deputy Minister since he defeated similar allowance types here last February.

As was the case in his previous victory, Minister's Joy was ridden by Javier Castellano. Minister's Joy is trained by Shug McGaughey for owner Stuart Janney III.

Baird joins local jockey colony

Jockey E.T. Baird is trying his luck on the local circuit. The veteran rider completed the 2007 season in Illinois, took most of January off to be with his family, then spent a week at the Fair Grounds before arriving here earlier this week. He accepted his first local assignment aboard Wisconsin Girl and finished sixth for trainer Nick Zito on Thursday.

"Right now, my plans are open for the year," said Baird, a 22-year veteran who finished third in the standings during the 2007 Arlington Park meet. "I've never ridden in south Florida except for stakes, so I decided to come down and see how things go."

Baird won 121 races in 2007, including stakes for trainer Wayne Catalano aboard Dreaming of Anna, Dreaming of Liz, and Lewis Michael.

* Bordeaux Bandit, an impressive maiden winner here last month, blew out three furlongs in 35.40 seconds at Palm Meadows on Thursday. His next start will come in Sunday's ninth race, a first-level allowance. Among his rivals will be the equally impressive maiden winner Jockey Ridge.