03/07/2007 1:00AM

'First Class' preps for Rebel


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Flying First Class, the 3-year-old who earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 107 for his maiden win last month at Oaklawn Park, indicated his readiness for next week's Grade 3, $300,000 Rebel Stakes with a major workout here Wednesday.

Flying First Class breezed six furlongs in a bullet 1:12.17, while working in company under exercise rider Leigh Bentley. He broke off about five lengths behind workmate Out of Aces at the 5 1/2-furlong pole, and moved within two lengths of him by the half-mile pole.

Flying First Class drew even with his workmate midway on the turn and then drew away in the stretch while working past the wire to the 7o1/2-furlong pole. Clockers timed him in fractions of 24.60 seconds for the opening quarter, 48.54 for a half-mile, and 59.92 for five furlongs.

"It was an excellent work," said Wayne Lukas, who trains Flying First Class for E.W. and Judy Johnston. "It was just a maintenance work, give him a little experience, let him learn that we wanted to get him focused on through the stretch, and I think we accomplished all of that."

Flying First Class was an eight-length maiden winner at Oaklawn on Feb. 19 in his second start. He covered the six furlongs in 1:09.92, and his Beyer Figure ranks as this year's highest for a 3-year-old. Flying First Class is a California-bred son of Perfect Mandate, a Gone West stallion.

The Rebel, a 1 1/16-mile race to be run here March 17, will be the stakes debut for Flying First Class. He will be ridden by Edgar Prado.

Lawyer Ron waiting for Oaklawn Cap

The south Florida-based Lawyer Ron had been under consideration for a start in the Grade 3, $150,000 Razorback Breeders' Cup here Friday, but will instead await the Grade 2, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 7, his trainer, Todd Pletcher, said on Wednesday.

"He's got a good record there, and considered bringing him for this one, I just didn't want to ship him twice," said Pletcher. "And, he seems to run well fresh, so we're just going to train him up to that."

Lawyer Ron, who swept the 3-year-old series last year at Oaklawn when trained by Bob Holthus, has turned in two top performances off layoffs. He won the $250,000 St. Louis Derby at Fairmount Park off a layoff last year for Holthus with a Beyer of 103. This year, he overcame trouble to win an optional claimer at Gulfstream for Pletcher with a Beyer of 102.

Pletcher will be represented in the Razorback by Magna Graduate.

India makes comeback in Azeri

India, who in her last start won the Grade 2 Fitz Dixon Cotillion Breeders' Cup at Philadelphia Park in October, is one of six fillies and mares who were entered for the Grade 3, $175,000 Azeri BC, which will be run here on Saturday. The field for the 1 1/16-mile race was drawn on Wednesday. It is the local prep for the Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap here April 7.

India will break from post 6 under Chris DeCarlo. The complete field from the rail with riders is: Gasia, Terry Thompson; Kettleoneup, Calvin Borel; Plaid, Luis Quinonez; Christmas Lily, Eddie Razo Jr.; A True Pussycat, Noberto Arroyo Jr.; and India.

India flew into Hot Springs on Wednesday aboard a flight that also carried Magna Graduate. Both horses are trained by Pletcher. Also on the plane was Student Council, who will run in the Razorback here Friday for trainer Neil Howard.

* Former jockey Abigail Fuller, regular rider on champion Mom's Command, is expected to be at Oaklawn on Friday to watch the late mare's son Jonesboro run as the starting highweight in the Razorback. Jonesboro is the lone stakes winner produced by Mom's Command, who was the champion 3-year-old filly of 1985.

* Grade 3 winner Hard Spun is scheduled to ship to Turfway Park on Sunday, said his trainer, Larry Jones. Hard Spun is being pointed for the Grade 2, $500,000 Lane's End there on March 24.

* Semaphore Man, who worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.20 seconds here Wednesday, is being pointed for the $50,000 Hot Springs at Oaklawn on March 24, said his trainer, Kelly Von Hemel. Semaphore Man won the $50,000 King Cotton here in his last start Feb. 9.