03/16/2008 11:00PM

Dream Rush to miss Distaff with leg injury

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Dream Rush will miss Saturday's Grade 2 Distaff Handicap at Aqueduct after suffering a minor injury to a hind leg, trainer Rick Violette said Monday.

Violette said he was forced to miss a Sunday workout with Dream Rush after detecting filling and some heat in a hind leg, possibly incurred from Dream Rush kicking a wall in her stall at the Palm Meadows training center in Florida. Violette said X-rays and other tests proved negative for any fractures and that it's simply a matter of "bad timing.''

"If the race were a week later we could possibly make it,'' Violette said Monday. "But we're looking to have a long year with her so we don't need to rush it.''

Violette spoke from Ocala, where he was attending a horse auction. He said he would chart a course of action for Dream Rush once he got back to Palm Meadows and re-examined the injury. Dream Rush has missed two days of training.

Dream Rush, a daughter of Wild Rush, won four graded stakes last year, including the Prioress and Test - both Grade 1's. In her last start of 2007, Dream Rush caught a sloppy track in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint and finished fifth behind winner Maryfield.

Owners the West Point Stable and Lewis Lakin put Dream Rush through the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November sale, and she was purchased for $3.3 million by Halsey Minor and his mother, Susie.

With Dream Rush out of the $150,000 Distaff, Control System is now expected to be the starting highweight at 118 pounds. Control System is 3 for 3 over Aqueduct's inner track and most recently finished second to Golden Dawn in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel on Feb.o16.

Before the news of Dream Rush's injury, the only other confirmed starters for the Distaff were Beau Dare and Rite Moment. Karakorum Starlet, Livermore Valley, and Sutra could possibly join the field.

Barker likes his golden oldie

He has had Explosive Count in his barn for only a month, but trainer Ed Barker has developed an affinity for the 10-year-old gelding. In Barker's perfect world, Explosive Count would win a $7,500 claiming race Wednesday at Aqueduct and then retire with earnings of more than $500,000. That's a lot of money when you consider the biggest purse Explosive Count has ever run for was $60,000. A son of Count the Time, Explosive Count has won 23 races from 82 starts and has earned $496,873. Barker claimed Explosive Count on Feb. 16 for $7,500 then won a $10,000 claiming race with him on March 8 in the race immediately following the Gotham Stakes.

"I've had horses like this before,'' said Barker, mentioning Top Bunk and Love That Song as two veterans with whom he has won.

"These old horses, they go out and give it to you every time. Maybe not like they did five years ago, but you got to admire them - they give it all they got.''

Explosive Count has 4 wins and 2 seconds from his last 7 starts. He has 5 wins and 2 seconds from 10 starts on a wet track.

"I don't really like running back as fast as I am, but he came out of the race good, and I know it's going to pour on Wednesday,'' Barker said.

Giant Moon works, Wood possible

Giant Moon, who suffered his first defeat when finishing last in the Gotham on March 8, worked five furlongs in 1:02.63 Sunday morning over Belmont Park's training track. He worked in company with Thundering Cat, who was credited with a time of 1:03.09.

Following the Gotham, trainer Richard Schosberg said Giant Moon would be pointed to either the Wood Memorial here or Illinois Derby at Hawthorne, both on April 5. At the time, Schosberg appeared to be favoring the Illinois Derby, in part because he didn't want to face War Pass while coming off such a bad performance in the Gotham. But with War Pass finishing last as the 1-20 favorite in the Tampa Bay Derby, Schosberg's thinking has changed.

"We're kind of waiting to hear what the story is with War Pass, but it gives the Wood a little more consideration for us,'' he said. "Our horse came out of the race in good order; we'll give it another shot. We have the Illinois Derby as a possibility, also.''

The Gotham was run over a sloppy track. Prior to that, Giant Moon had won all four of his races, all over a fast or good surface.

Carolyn's Cat might race next in May

The summer plans are clear for Carolyn's Cat, winner of the Grade 3 Cicada Stakes on Saturday. But how her connections get her to the Gradeo1 Prioress on July 5 and Gradeo1 Test on Aug. 2 is still a bit unsettled.

Carolyn's Cat won her second straight race, taking the Cicada by 3o3/4 lengths and earning an 89 Beyer Speed Figure. Graded events for 3-year-old filly sprinters are few, which means she might not run again until the Grade 3, $200,000 Nassau County Stakes at Belmont Park on May 3.

Aqueduct hosts the Grade 2, $150,000 Comely at a mile on Aprilo12, but her connections don't want to run her that far.

"I don't think she'll go in the Comely,'' said Art Magnuson, assistant to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. "We're looking to keep her short.''

Meanwhile, Magnuson said Angliana, beaten a nose by Explosive Heat in an optional claiming race on Saturday, will likely be pointed to the Grade 3, $150,000 Ben Ali Handicap at Keeneland on April 20.