02/07/2008 12:00AM

Divine Park looks to General George


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Divine Park, winner of the Grade 3 Withers here last April, returned to New York from Florida on Wednesday to prepare for a start in the Grade 2, $300,000 General George Handicap at Laurel Park on Feb. 18.

Divine Park, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, has won 3 of 4 career starts, with his only loss coming in the Grade 1 Malibu at Santa Anita on Dec. 26. That was his first start since the Withers. In the interim, Divine Park was hindered by a bruised left hind cannon bone that prompted his connections to give him 60 days off last summer.

McLaughlin chose the Malibu as Divine Park's comeback because it was a sprint restricted to 3-year-olds run over a synthetic surface. In the Malibu, Divine Park broke from post 14, endured a wide trip, and finished ninth, but was only beaten five lengths.

"That day horses that went to the lead kept on going," McLaughlin said. "He didn't run terrible from post 14, only getting beat five lengths. This looked like a good spot to run him back on the East Coast."

Divine Park won his debut over the inner track last Feb. 10 before taking an allowance race and the Withers. He was pointing for the Ohio Derby in May when his cannon bone became an issue and he was given time off.

Divine Park will most likely work at Belmont over the weekend or the start of next week before shipping to Laurel for the General George.

Other New York-based horses eyeing the General George are Throng, Bustin Stones, and possibly Stormin Normandy.

Giant Moon works toward Gotham

Giant Moon, the undefeated New York-bred 3-year-old, worked five furlongs in 1:01.02 Thursday morning as he prepares for a start in the Grade 3, $250,000 Gotham Stakes here on March 8.

Giant Moon, coming off a win in the Count Fleet on Jan. 5, worked in company with a stablemate from the Richard Schosberg barn.

Giant Moon "went really, really good this morning," said Schosberg. "I thought they went a little quick early, but finished beautiful. I kind of expected a slower five-eighths, then sharpen him up later on, but he did that on his own. He's letting us know he's doing good.''

While Schosberg is planning on running Giant Moon in the Gotham, he said he would nominate to several stakes out of town in case there is a shutdown of the New York Racing Association.

"Our position is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best," he said.

Freshening for Spanky Fischbein

Spanky Fischbein, the fourth-place finisher in the Whirlaway Stakes, will be sent to Florida for a freshening, Seth Benzel, the assistant trainer to Todd Pletcher, said Thursday.

Benzel said Spanky Fischbein came out of the race in good order, but the colt has had a hard campaign since getting started last summer. He has run eight times, competing in seven stakes. He has finished second in five of those stakes.

"We felt like it was a good time to stop on him and freshen him up for the spring," Benzel said.

Benzel said Spanky Fischbein would be sent to Jake Pletcher's Peyton Training Center in Ocala, Fla.

Benzel said Aliysa, winner of the Squan Song Stakes on Feb. 1, would be pointed to the $75,000 Rare Treat Handicap here on Feb. 23.

Be Bullish wins Appealing Guy Stakes

Be Bullish overcame a tough trip to win Thursday's $67,000 Appealing Guy Stakes for New York-bred 3-year-old sprinters by 3 1/4 lengths.

On a track favoring inside speed all day long, Be Bullish rallied from last and had to go seven wide under C.C. Lopez to nail pacesetting Piquante Cat, who held second by a neck over That'srightofficer.

Be Bullish ($10.80) was bumped hard coming out of the gate and was also impeded when That'srightofficer came over on him early, nearly causing Lopez to lose his balance. Be Bullish didn't change leads until the final 70 yards and covered six furlongs in 1:12.23, winning for the third time in six starts.

Be Bullish is a gelded son of Pure Prize owned by Herbert and Carol Schwartz and trained by Scott Schwartz.

* The multiple New York-bred stakes winner Gold and Roses worked five furlongs in 1:01.88 over Belmont Park's training track Thursday in preparation for a start in the $75,000 Hollie Hughes Stakes on Feb. 16.

* Stage Luck, who defeated Aliysa by a neck in the Affectionately Handicap, worked five furlongs in a leisurely 1:05.02 Thursday morning at Belmont. She will most likely make her next start in the Grade 3 Next Move Handicap at Aqueduct on March 29.

* Jockey Ramon Dominguez won four races on Thursday's card and now has a meet-leading 67. Dominguez maintains a 17-win lead over Alan Garcia.