05/28/2008 11:00PM

Divine Park, Giant Gizmo aim at Whitney


ELMONT, N.Y. - Divine Park, winner of Monday's Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap here, and Giant Gizmo, winner of Monday's Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap, are both targeting the $750,000 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga on July 26 for their next start.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Divine Park came out of Monday's Met Mile victory in good shape and that the two months between races would be ideal for his horse. Divine Park ran one mile in 1:36.91 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 109. That win came 26 days after he won the Grade 3 Westchester by five lengths, running a mile in 1:32.74 and earning a 111 Beyer. Overall, Divine Park has won three straight races.

McLaughlin said he doesn't see stretching out from a one-turn mile to 1 1/8 miles around two turns as a problem. Divine Park did win a two-turn allowance race at a mile and 70 yards over the inner track in March.

"He ran a huge race around two turns," McLaughlin said. "Distance is not going to be a problem."

Meanwhile, Giant Gizmo won his third straight race with a visually impressive performance in the Lone Star Park Handicap. He was caught four wide for most of the trip, but kicked in nicely for the two-length score. He covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.01 and earned a Beyer of 104.

"He's an improving horse, he looks like he can take a little training, too, which is a good sign," trainer Bobby Frankel said.

Commentator, who finished second to Divine Park in the Met, is also likely for the Whitney, a race he won in 2005.

Ginger Punch works toward Phipps

While a gaggle of reporters and cameramen were jockeying for position to get a look at Big Brown on the track following the renovation break Thursday morning, only a few people took notice of the champion filly Ginger Punch breezing at the same time.

With Angel Cordero Jr. up, Ginger Punch worked five furlongs in 1:00.68, getting her final quarter in 24.12 seconds. She galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.79.

"She worked great, she looks great, she looks better than ever," Frankel said.

Ginger Punch is being pointed to the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps on June 14, though the Fleur de Lis at Churchill Downs the same day is also possible. Frankel said he would nominate Ginger Punch and Spring Waltz to both races, and run one here and one in Kentucky, depending on weight assignments.

Like Big Brown, Ginger Punch recently suffered a quarter crack. She had hers patched a few days ago by Ian McKinlay, who is taking care of Big Brown.

Sir Whimsey points to Suburban

Jimmy Toner will probably be glad to read that Divine Park, Giant Gizmo, and Commentator are all skipping the Grade 1, $400,000 Suburban on June 28 because that's where he is pointing Sir Whimsey.

Sir Whimsey, winner of this year's Gulfstream Park Handicap, is coming off a third-place finish in the Pimlico Special on May 17.

Prior to the Pimlico Special, Sir Whimsey finished third over Keeneland's Polytrack in the Grade 3 Ben Ali Handicap.

"He was on a couple of different racetracks that he didn't like,'' Toner said. "The time between races is what he needs.''

Toner also mentioned that Bold Hawk, winner of the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby last year, has recently resumed training after recovering from some physical issues.

Graded stakes winners in allowance

Graded stakes winners Harlington and Tasteyville return from extended layoffs and will meet in a classified allowance race at 1 1/16 miles on Saturday.

Harlington, a 6-year-old son of Unbridled out of the champion mare Serena's Song, has won 6 of 8 starts, including the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap in 2006. His only start in the last two years came in a similar spot as this on May 24, 2007.

Harlington suffered a foot injury that forced him to miss the remainder of the year. Twice previously in his career, Harlington was sidelined by ankle injuries.

Previously trained by Todd Pletcher, Harlington will be making his first start for trainer Tom Albertrani on Saturday. Harlington is a half-brother to Spark Candle, a 3-year-old colt who is a stablemate of Belmont Stakes contender Casino Drive. Spark Candle is also a candidate for the Belmont.

Tasteyville, a 5-year-old gelded son of With Approval, has not run since his runaway victory in the Grade 3 Sport Page Handicap last Oct. 27, run over a sloppy track. Rain is in the forecast for Saturday. Tasteyville sustained a wrenched ankle training toward the Grade 1 Cigar Mile last November.

A field of six was entered in the race, including Rackateer, Sinners N Saints, Greeley's Legacy, and Richland Creek.

Charity event for backstretch

There will be a charity bowling event held for backstretch workers on Sunday at Dani's Strike Zone, 20 Village Ave. in Elmont.

For $25, participants get to bowl two games (includes shoes) with proceeds to benefit the Race Track Chaplaincy, a group that provides a wealth of social services for backstretch workers. Angel Cordero Jr. is expected to be at the event, along with many prominent jockeys and trainers.

The event begins at 7 p.m. For more information, contact Nick Caras at (516) 835-0275.