10/28/2009 12:00AM

Fatal Bullet back for another shot

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Eight horses went postward in the 2008 Breeders' Cup Sprint. Only one of them, Fatal Bullet, will be back to try again this year.

Fatal Bullet finished second in last year's Sprint, beaten less than two lengths by defending champion Midnight Lute. And trainer Reade Baker is hoping "been there, done that" will help his horse's chances of winning the second time around.

"I'm more comfortable, and the horse is a lot more comfortable after being here last year," Baker said. "This time, there will be no surprises. He ran a super race here a year ago, he just ran into a monster that day. If we made one folly, it might have been chasing another horse too hard early in the race. Off his form, you know where he's going to be. I'm just hoping for a good trip. If he gets a fair trip, we'll be super tough."

Baker gave Fatal Bullet nearly nine months off after the 2008 Sprint, bringing him back to the races with an easy victory in Woodbine's Bold Venture Stakes on July 19. After switching to dirt and finishing far back in Saratoga's Alfred Vanderbilt, Fatal Bullet earned his way back to the Breeders' Cup with a half-length decision over Capt. Candyman Can in Keeneland's Grade 3 Phoenix earlier this month.

"We decided if he was going to make it back to the Breeders' Cup again this year he needed a layoff," Baker said. "Unfortunately, one of the races we'd planned on during his comeback at Presque Isle was eliminated. That left a big hole in our schedule and was the reason why we took him to Saratoga."

Fatal Bullet once again showed his affinity for Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface by working five furlongs in 58.80 seconds Saturday.

"A horse can't possibly work that fast any easier than he did," said Baker, who plans one final, five-furlong prep for Fatal Bullet on Saturday morning.

Only 11 horses were pre-entered, two of whom made the Sprint their second preference. Among those pre-entered were the favorite Zensational, Capt. Candyman Can, and the European speedster Fleeting Spirit, who finished fourth as the tepid favorite in the 2008 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint.