09/09/2001 11:00PM

Double Zero Seven: License to win


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Like any trainer in the claiming game, Angel Montano always is looking to strike gold. This summer, he has.

Double Zero Seven, a 2-year-old colt Montano and owner Larry Telle claimed for $25,000 earlier this summer, has won four straight races, a streak that includes consecutive stakes scores at Arlington. Last Saturday, the colt won the $75,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes here to establish himself as the top 2-year-old in Chicago.

Montano's eye for a horse and Telle's close acquaintance with good fortune combined to bring Double Zero Seven to this position.

"The owner, he's one of those guys that's real lucky," Montano said. For instance, Montano claimed a $10,000 horse named Long Suit for Telle in 1995, and Long Suit went on to win the $100,000 Churchill Downs Sprint Handicap a few months later. "Some people, you know, they never have a horse like that."

Montano, a veteran horsemen based primarily in Kentucky, liked what he saw when Double Zero Seven debuted at Churchill Downs on May 17. The colt finished sixth in a $50,000 maiden claimer that day, but had trouble in the race and "looked sound and correct" to Montano.

Double Zero Seven lost his first start for Montano, a $50,000 claimer at Churchill, but has been unbeatable since, winning his maiden in another $50,000 claimer at Arlington, then taking an allowance race in late July and the $60,000 Gilded Time Stakes here on Aug. 16. "I can see him progressing," Montano said. "He began training real good, eating real good. He had been a little nervous, and we had to school him in the gate, but he's come around pretty good.

"I had to give him a shot [in the Spectacular Bid] because every time he raced he was getting better," said Montano. "I'm going to be frank. I looked at the Form the night before, and I told the owner I thought we'd be doing good to hit the board."

Double Zero Seven, who rated off the pace for the first time in the Spectacular Bid, has given his trainer the impression that he wants to be a route horse, and so Montano is pointing the colt to the Grade 2 Arlington-Washington Futurity here Sept. 29. "If he stays healthy, that's where we're going to go with him."

Guidry back at Arlington

Jockey Mark Guidry, who left Arlington earlier in the summer to ride in New York, has returned to Chicago and is named to ride four horses on Arlington's Wednesday program.

His return was somewhat unexpected. When Guidry shifted his tack to Saratoga, both he and his agent, Ronnie Ebanks, said they planned on being gone for the remainder of the Arlington meet. But Guidry was suspended for five days because of an infraction at Saratoga, and would have missed the opening week of the Belmont meet. "That changed our minds," Ebanks said. "It killed the momentum."

Ebanks, Guidry's agent since May, said they were pleased with Guidry's Saratoga meet. "We won 11, and I said if we won 10 it would be a success. Plus, we got a lot of follow-up for the winter at Gulfstream."

Guidry, tied for third in the jockey standings here with 35 winners, will not be in Chicago long. He will leave again at the end of this month to ride the Keeneland and Churchill Downs meets this fall.

Emily Ring 'fine' for feature

Trainer Blackie Huffman still isn't sure what happened to Emily Ring when she finished a distant sixth in an Aug. 4 allowance race at Ellis Park. "She had a problem in the gate," said Huffman. "She just wouldn't behave herself. The gate had never been a problem before."

Emily Ring broke badly that day and never was in the race, but Huffman said he "went over her from head to toe, and she came out of the race good. She seems fine now."

Fine would be good enough to win Arlington's Wednesday feature, a second-level sprint allowance for fillies and mares. Huffman, who's based at Churchill Downs, sent Emily Ring to Arlington for an entry-level allowance score in early July. "We wouldn't come all the way up there for nothing," he said.

Emily Ring, a 3-year-old filly owned by Mike Anderson Thoroughbreds, has potent early speed, and she led throughout in her previous Arlington win. And if a sharp half-mile breeze at Churchill last week is any indication, she should be on the lead again Wednesday from post 2 under jockey Eddie Razo.

She faces six rivals, led by the Louis Roussel-trained Heart of a Chief, who has been idle since finishing third in an overnight stakes race here June 24.

No Pucker Up for La Vida Loca

The graded stakes-winning 3-year-old filly La Vida Loca will pass the Grade 3 Pucker Up Stakes here this weekend and wait for the Valley View Stakes at Keeneland, her trainer Pat Byrne said. La Vida Loca ran here last month in an overnight stakes race that was rained off turf, and she struggled on the main track, finishing a distant fourth.

"I just want to get her back good, freshen her up," Byrne said. "We'll just wait for the race at Keeneland."