10/18/2007 11:00PM

Eastern horses rush to beat rain

EmailELMONT, N.Y. - Breeders' Cup hopefuls were busy from coast to coast on Friday with nine working in New York, seven in California, and one over the host track at Monmouth Park.

With the heavy rains forecast for Friday in the New York area arriving as predicted early in the afternoon, several trainers moved up works scheduled for Saturday morning to beat the wet weather. Among them was Kiaran McLaughlin, who sent out Lear's Princess (Distaff) and Lahudood (Filly and Mare Turf) at Belmont shortly after daybreak. He was beaten to the punch by his brother-in-law Mark Hennig, who worked Jazzy (Filly and Mare Sprint) before dawn. They were joined later by Backstreet Rhythm (Juvenile Fillies), Corinthian (Dirt Mile), and Gio Ponti (Juvenile Turf), who was the only horse to work on turf.

Other New York workers included Oprah Winney (Filly and Mare Sprint) at Aqueduct, Commentator (Sprint) and Wanderin Boy (Dirt Mile) at Saratoga, and Shore Do (Juvenile) at Monmouth.

On the West Coast, Bordonaro (Sprint), Greg's Gold (Sprint), and Nashoba's Key (Distaff) breezed at Santa Anita, while Tiago (Classic), Maryfield (Filly and Mare Sprint), Shaggy Mane (Filly and Mare Sprint), and After Market (Mile) did likewise at Hollywood Park.

Work of the day

Lahudood (four furlongs in 46.94 seconds): I was expecting to see a half in about 50 from this long-distance grass specialist. So imagine my surprise when I glanced at the watch to see a 22.83 opening quarter from Lahudood, who appeared well within herself under exercise rider Lorenzo Morales. Despite fanning out about four or five paths off the turn, she continued to hold her pace well after switching leads on cue at the head of the stretch, finishing up a final furlong in 12.13 seconds before galloping out five-eighths in 59.86.

Lears Princess (four furlongs in 49.96): Probably worked a little slower than McLaughlin might have liked, although she did it under little duress and while also angling out about four or five paths wide under Morales exiting the turn. Finished up willingly enough after fractions of 24.84 and 37.60, then galloped out in 1:03.50.

Backstreet Rhythm (six furlongs in 1:13.94): Petite filly maintained a steady pace from start to finish, although she had to be put to some urging through the final furlong. Has a nice, lengthy stride to her but did break out in a noticeable lather about the neck as she crossed the wire and galloped out seven-eighths in 1:27.22.

Gio Ponti (four furlongs in 48.03 on the turf): Worked in company with her older stablemate Greenery in a well-orchestrated breeze over a firm course. Broke off a couple of lengths behind her workmate with the pair going in hand through an opening quarter-mile fraction of 24.59. The rider of Gio Ponty had to steady for a stride before tipping her out for clearance at the head of the stretch. They drew abreast of the company approaching the eighth pole, and the duo finished as a team with neither put to any urging at the end.

Corinthian (six furlongs in 1:11.75): Turned in a lively work over the training track, posting fractions of 35.67 and 58.50. Finished strong and galloped out willingly around the turn.

Jazzy (four furlongs in 48.45): Finished with enthusiasm after a relatively leisurely opening quarter of 25.20.

At Saratoga, Commentator and Wanderin Boy went half-miles over the Oklahoma training track in near identical times of 46.92 and 46.95.

"Commentator was just galloping," said Nick Zito, who trains them both. "He did it effortlessly."

At Monmouth, Shore Do worked an easy five furlongs in 1:02.


Nashoba's Key, the undefeated California-based filly who will be favored in the Filly and Mare Turf, worked alone at Santa Anita on Friday morning, going five furlongs in 1:00.80, according to track clockers.

Trainer Carla Gaines said she couldn't work Nashoba's Key in company, because she would probably go too fast.

"She's too hard to control," Gaines said.

With exercise rider Tony Rubalcava aboard for the 7:40 a.m. work, Gaines timed the opening quarter-mile in 25.40 seconds and the final three furlongs in 35.40 seconds.

She remarked how easily Nashoba's Key moved across the top of Santa Anita's Cushion Track.

"Look at how he's trying to pull her up," Gaines said of Rubalcava as Nashoba's Key galloped out seven furlongs in 1:25.80.

Nashoba's Key is unbeaten in seven starts, including the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon Stakes over 1 1/4 miles on turf on Sept. 29. The Filly and Mare Turf will be her first start outside of California.

At Santa Anita, Greg's Gold worked six furlongs for the Sprint in 1:10.80, the morning's fastest at the distance. Trainer David Hofmans described the work as "incredible."

Bordonaro, fourth in the 2006 BC Sprint, worked five furlongs under Richard Migliore in 58.80 seconds, the second-fastest of 35 works at the distance. He worked with blinkers for the first time and will wear them in the Sprint for the first time.

"Richard said Bordonaro did everything right with the blinkers," said trainer Bill Spawr. "He was just a passenger."

At Hollywood Park, trainer John Shirreffs worked his two Breeders' Cup candidates - Tiago for the Classic and After Market for the Mile.

Tiago worked seven furlongs in 1:25, in company with stablemate Bronzino, who was timed in 1:25.60. Shirreffs said Tiago finished his final quarter-mile in 23.80 seconds.

"He was like a machine out there," Shirreffs said of Tiago. "He had that nice, long repeatable stride."

After Market worked five furlongs in 1:00, which Shirreffs described as a "maintenance work."

Two candidates for Friday's $1omillion Filly and Mare Sprint had fast half-mile workouts at Hollywood. Maryfield was timed in 46 seconds, the fastest of 34 works at the distance, while Shaggy Mane was timed in 47.60 seconds.

- Steve Andersen