03/29/2004 12:00AM

Eurosilver on bubble


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Trainer Nick Zito said Monday that his 3-year-old star Eurosilver continues to be closely monitored for a glandular infection but that he is hopeful the colt will recover soon enough to return to the Kentucky Derby trail.

Zito, speaking from Keeneland in Lexington, said veterinarian Paul Byars has been treating Eurosilver for the infection, and that the situation remains "a day-by-day thing." Zito declared Eurosilver out of the April 10 Blue Grass Stakes on Friday.

"Nobody knows where the infection came from," said Zito. "It's not from an insect bite or an injection, and we'd really rather not speculate on the source. He just picked it up. It comes from the gland, whatever that means. It's just one of those things. Hopefully he'll get better and we'll get back on track. I don't know what else to say."

If all goes well in the coming days, Eurosilver, owned by Buckram Oak Farm, still might be able to resume serious training in time to make the April 17 Lexington Stakes, the last major prep for the May 1 Kentucky Derby. Zito long had targeted the Blue Grass as the final Derby prep for Eurosilver.

Meanwhile, Zito's two other top 3-year-olds, The Cliff's Edge and Birdstone, were out for serious works at Keeneland over the weekend.

The Cliff's Edge, owned by Robert La Penta, breezed five furlongs Saturday in 1:01.80. The Cliff's Edge, most recently third in the March 13 Florida Derby, will make his next start April 10 in one of the three major Kentucky Derby preps - the Blue Grass, Wood Memorial, or Arkansas Derby - although Zito remains noncommittal on which one.

Birdstone, owned by Marylou Whitney, worked six furlongs Monday in 1:15.40. The work was the first for Birdstone since the colt finished fifth as the 3-5 favorite in the March 20 Lane's End Stakes at Turfway. Birdstone will run next in the Blue Grass.

Halfbridled arriving for Ashland

Halfbridled is scheduled to arrive Wednesday at Keeneland on a flight from Southern California to begin final preparations for the Grade 1, $500,000 Ashland Stakes on Saturday.

Halfbridled, the reigning divisional champion, is one of at least five 3-year-old fillies likely to run in a sensational renewal of the 1 1/16-mile Ashland. The others are Madcap Escapade, Ashado, La Reina, and Last Song.

Several local workouts were recorded over fast racing surfaces by Ashland fillies in recent days. Madcap Escapade went five furlongs in 58.80 seconds Friday at Churchill Downs; Last Song, five furlongs in 1:03.20 Saturday at Churchill; and La Reina, four furlongs in 48.60 seconds Monday at Keeneland.