06/10/2010 11:00PM

Eightyfiveinafifty has throat surgery


ELMONT, N.Y. − After virtually each of Eightyfiveinafifty's races, trainer Gary Contessa heard from someone wanting to know how the horse was doing. Following Eightyfiveinafifty's last-place finish in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens on Belmont Stakes Day, Contessa heard from no one.

Contessa said he believes, however, his speedy 3-year-old colt had a legitimate excuse for his poor performance in the Woody Stephens. Eightyfiveinafifty had a clinically entrapped epiglottis, meaning he had a large piece of skin blocking his airway. On Monday, two days after the Woody Stephens, Eightyfiveinafifty underwent throat surgery at the New Jersey Equine Clinic in Millstone Township, N.J., during which Dr. Scott Palmer used a laser treatment to split the entrapment.

Contessa said Friday that Eightyfiveinafifty is still at the clinic and would probably remain there until the end of the week. He said he believes Eightyfiveinafifty could resume light training shortly thereafter and will be aimed to races at the Saratoga meet. The first sprint stakes for 3-year-olds at the Spa is the Grade 2, $150,000 Amsterdam Stakes on Aug. 2.

"This will probably do this horse a world of good," Contessa said. "God only knows how many times this horse may have entrapped."

Contessa said it is possible Eightyfiveinafifty may have entrapped in other races, which may have been the cause for his head being cocked to the side in some of his races. Some horses can entrap, but the skin falls back into place, so it is not detected during routine endoscopic examinations.

In his second start, Eightyfiveinafifty won a maiden race in January by 17 1/4 lengths. In his next start, the Whirlaway, Eightyfiveinafifty bolted entering the first turn. He came back to win the Grade 3 Bay Shore on April 3 before finishing fourth in the Derby Trial at Churchill on April 24. Contessa said Eightyfiveinafifty came back from that race breathing heavily but did not show an entrapment.

Castaneda suffers fractured knee

Contessa's other stakes-winning sprinter Castaneda will be out of action for at least the rest of the year after suffering a fractured right knee during a workout Friday morning at Aqueduct.

Castaneda, who won the Fred "Cappy" Capossela Stakes in March, worked five furlongs in 58.45 seconds. He was being pointed to next Sunday's $100,000 Mike Lee Stakes for New York-breds at Belmont.

Contessa said Castaneda appeared to come out of the work in good order, but later in the morning, when Castaneda jogged on the pavement outside the barn, Contessa said he felt something was wrong.

"It's a feeling I felt before," Contessa said. "I knew we were in trouble."

Contessa said Castaneda was vanned to the Hogan Equine Clinic in Cream Ridge, N.J., where Patty Hogan was to operate.

"I believe he'll need a screw," Contessa said. "It's a slab fracture. It's a difficult surgery, so I won't make any predictions about his future. We'll see where he is six months from now."

Bail Out the Cat impressive in debut

Trainer Rick Violette began the 2-year-old season in New York in fine fashion Thursday, when his first-time starter Bail Out the Cat scored a good-looking 2 1/4-length victory.

After breaking on top, Bail Out the Cat let Soldat go about a half-length in front of him at the three-eighths pole before retaking the lead turning for home and winning in hand under Alan Garcia. He ran five furlongs in 57.83 seconds and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 91.

"He's a nice horse," Violette said. "I didn't think he was a freak, but he had done things right. He breezed fast enough. He could run. I just didn't know how good he was."

Violette said Bail Out the Cat, a son of Tale of the Cat who was purchased by Seth Klarman's Klaravich Stables for $150,000, would be pointed to the Sanford Stakes at Saratoga on July 25.

Last year, Violette won with three first-time starters at the Belmont summer meet, but those horses have yet to find that form at 3. Bulls and Bears finished third in his 3-year-old debut and is close to making his second start of the year. Worstcasescenario, who won the Grade 2 Adirondack, finished second in the Boynton Beach at Gulfstream in her seasonal debut. She is entered Sunday in a stakes race at Woodbine. Not Macho Any More suffered a sesamoid fracture and is close to returning to the work tab.

"They had some physical issues, which held them back," Violette said. "Hopefully, we'll have another good 2-year-old year, but they'll improve as 3-year-olds."

I Want Revenge puts in sharp drill

I Want Revenge took another step toward his return to the races by working a strong six furlongs in 1:12.76 Friday morning in company with the Grade 2 stakes winner Golden Spikes.

With Ramon Dominguez up, I Want Revenge went in fractions of 12.66 seconds, 24.84, 36.50, and 49.53, and he galloped out seven furlongs in 1:25.91, according to Aqueduct clockers. Golden Spikes, with Jose Lezcano in the irons, started off slightly in front of I Want Revenge, and the two finished together.

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. reiterated that I Want Revenge, unraced since winning the 2009 Wood Memorial, is being pointed to the Grade 2, $300,000 Suburban on July 3.

"As long as he keeps training this way, I'm going to go into this race with full confidence," Dutrow said. "He's a good horse."

Dutrow said Golden Spikes, who won the Grade 2 Carry Back Stakes, could make his return in the Grade 2, $350,000 Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder on July 10.

Afleet Express works for Pegasus

With Afleet Express set to make his two-turn debut in his next start, trainer Jimmy Jerkens gave him a workout around two turns Friday.

Working behind stablemate Thou Swell, Afleet Express went seven furlongs in 1:26.87 over the Belmont training track. Afleet Express is scheduled to make his next start in the Grade 3, $200,000 Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park on June 19. The Pegasus is run at 1 1/16 miles.

Afleet Express, a son of Afleet Alex, comes off a 7 3/4-length victory going seven furlongs here May 22. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 107 for the effort.

"Different ballgame," Jerkens said. "He's going to run into the first turn, horses crossing over in front of him. I want him used to getting some dirt. I thought he did good."