10/18/2009 11:00PM

Etched may pass BC Classic

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Bill Denver/EquiPhoto
Etched, with Alan Garcia riding, wins the Meadowlands Cup last Friday evening in stakes-record time.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Despite remaining unbeaten in North America with his stakes-record-setting performance in Friday night's Grade 2 Meadowlands Cup, Etched is expected to bypass the Breeders' Cup Classic and instead point for the Grade 2, $400,000 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 27, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said.

"Right now it looks like the Clark," McLaughlin said Monday morning at Belmont.

A start in the Breeders' Cup Classic would mean running back three weeks after a career-top performance while also racing over Santa Anita's Pro-Ride synthetic track, a surface that Etched has yet to run on. Etched won the Meadowlands Cup by a neck over Kiss the Kid, running 1 1/8 miles in 1:45.93, eclipsing the 11-year-old stakes record of 1:46.06 set by K.J.'s Appeal. Etched, who earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 104, missed the track record of 1:45.50 set by Forty One Carats in 1999.

Though he has never raced over a synthetic surface, Etched has since the summer been training regularly over the Polytrack that is used at owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum's private training area at Saratoga, formerly the Greentree property. In fact, Etched was shipped back there after the Meadowlands Cup.

McLaughlin said that one reason he shipped Etched back to Saratoga is because of the job Pat Correa, the colt's regular exercise rider, has done with him.

Etched, a son of Forestry out of the Breeders' Cup Distaff-winning mare Unbridled Elaine, is now 5 for 5 in the United States. His lone loss came to Honour Devil in the 2008 UEA 2000 Guineas in Dubai. Unbeaten in two starts for McLaughlin at 2, Etched was transferred to Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin operation for his 3-year-old season, in which he raced only twice. Following an allowance win at Aqueduct in November for McLaughlin, Etched suffered a cracked cannon bone that kept him out of the races for almost 11 months. He returned with an allowance win at Saratoga on Sept. 3.

McLaughlin said Etched was a difficult horse to train early in his career, but since he got the horse back in May, "he's done everything right," McLaughlin said. "He's come back a different horse, whether it's maturity or soundness or whatever."

McLaughlin said he was impressed with Etched's performance in the Meadowlands Cup, especially the way he responded to Alan Garca's urging in the stretch.

"At the quarter pole, Alan got caught off a guard for a stride or two from a horse on the inside of him and outside of him, but when he asked him he kicked on," McLaughlin said.

Sunshine for Life can breathe again

After Sunshine for Life beat Criticism in last year's Athenia Stakes at odds of 23-1, her connections thought that was going to be the start of something big. But in four subsequent starts since, Sunshine for Life has failed to meet expectations.

She will likely be a longshot again in Wednesday's renewal of the Athenia, but trainer Richard Schosberg - who trains the mare for his mother, Jane - has some hope for optimism.

Following a last-place finish after having things her own way on the lead in an overnight stakes here in July, Sunshine for Life was diagnosed with a knot on her vocal chords that hindered her breathing. In lieu of surgery, Schosberg opted to treat it medically, which required more time.

"When you do surgery sometimes it causes more problems," Schosberg said. "You could see by the works she's definitely back on track.''

Schosberg said that if Sunshine for Life performs well in the Athenia she could return next year.

"She's very lightly raced," Schosberg said.

Future Prospect heads Empire Classic

Future Prospect, winner of 6 of his last 8 starts, heads what appears to be a nine-horse field shaping up for Saturday's $250,000 Empire Classic, the centerpiece of New York Showcase Day. The Empire Classic is one of seven stakes on a 10-race card devoted entirely to New York-breds.

Future Prospect, a 5-year-old gelded son of Freud, comes off back-to-back wins against many of these same rivals in both the Funny Cide Stakes at Saratoga and the Jazzing Around at Belmont. On Monday, he worked four furlongs in 51.64 seconds over a good Belmont training track under assistant trainer/exercise rider Rachel Muzikar.

"Just wanted to put some air in his lungs," said Muzikar, who is the assistant to trainer Mike Maker. "He's never a fast work horse. Doesn't seem to matter as long as he runs fast."

Among the horses Future Prospect is expected to face in the Classic are Dr. D.F.C., Dr. V.'s Magic, Love Abroad, Naughty New Yorker, Ruffino, Slevin, Stopbluffing, and Undocumented.

Haynesfield likely to skip big day

Haynesfield, the top 3-year-old around these parts during the winter, is nominated to both the Empire Classic at 1 1/8 miles and the six-furlong Hudson Stakes on Showcase Day, but is unlikely to run in either one, assistant trainer Toby Sheets said.

The timing from his last race and the distance of both the Empire Classic and Hudson has Sheets - the assistant to Steve Asmussen - wanting to wait until Aqueduct to run the talented 3-year-old colt.

"Nothing fits perfectly," Sheets said. "If we had gotten to run two weeks earlier, then maybe. The right thing to do for the horse is to wait."

Haynesfield finished second in the Sir Keys Stakes run at 6 1/2 furlongs on Oct. 2. That was his first start since he finished eighth in the Grade 3 Gotham on March 7. Before that, Haynesfield had won four consecutive races including the Count Fleet and Whirlaway Stakes over the inner track.

In Summation retired

In Summation, a winner of 11 stakes, including the Grade 1 Bing Crosby, has been retired from racing, trainer Christophe Clement said.

In Summation, owned by Thomas Moore's Waterford Stable, won the John McSorley Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 12, but suffered a minor setback shortly thereafter and would not have been able to make the Breeders' Cup Sprint, Clement said. In Summation finished fourth to Midnight Lute in last year's Sprint at Santa Anita.

"Mr. Moore did not feel there was enough time to make the Breeders' Cup so he decided to retire the horse," Clement said. "He's entertaining some stallion offers at the moment."

In Summation, a son of Put it Back, had a record of 12-6-1 from 29 starts and earned $1,226,166.