06/15/2008 11:00PM

Frankel sensitive about weight for Ginger Punch


ELMONT, N.Y. - Bobby Frankel has Ginger Punch's last two starts of the year figured out, it's the next one or two before then that literally will weigh heavy on the trainer's mind.

Ginger Punch, the defending champion older mare, cruised to a 7 3/4-length victory in last Saturday's Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap here under an impost of 123 pounds. With virtually all of the upcoming graded events in the division run as handicaps, Frankel is leery of running in races where she has to carry too much weight.

"I thought she ran great,'' Frankel said Monday morning. "The thing is, what are they going to put on her next time? They want you to keep stars around, but how are you going to keep stars around if they're trying to bury them? That's why all Grade 1s should be weight for age.''

The $600,000 Beldame, run at Belmont on Sept. 27, and the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic, at Santa Anita on Oct. 24, are run under weight-for-age conditions, meaning older horses carry the same weight and only concede a few pounds to 3-year-olds.

Ginger Punch's next start will most likely come in the Grade 1 Go for Wand Handicap at Saratoga on July 26. Ginger Punch won that race last year by six lengths carrying 117 pounds. Another option is to wait for the $400,000 Personal Ensign Handicap on Aug. 22. That race is run at 1 1/4 miles.

Ginger Punch has won seven of her last nine starts and has won 10 of 18 overall. Despite running a full second slower on Saturday than she did in last year's Phipps - where she was beaten a neck by Take D'Tour - Ginger Punch earned the same Beyer Speed Figure of 103 as she did a year ago.

Frankel said that Spring Waltz, whom he scratched out of the Phipps, will train up to the $1 million Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park on July 13.

First Defence may run in Vanderbilt

Frankel may have found a candidate for the new $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint with First Defence, who made a successful turf debut winning Sunday's Grade 3 Jaipur Stakes at Belmont.

However, with few turf sprints of any consequence between now and the $500,000 Nearctic Stakes at Woodbine on Oct. 4, Frankel may return First Defence back to the dirt in the Grade 2 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap on July 26. The Vanderbilt is run at six furlongs.

Frankel said distance moreso than surface may be the key to First Defence, who has won 5 of 10 starts overall.

Frankel had mixed emotions about First Defence's performance in the Jaipur.

"I was a little disappointed by the way he stopped at the end,'' Frankel said. "I don't know why. It's almost like he ain't getting his air, but he's not making any sounds. It looks like he's cruising and then he gets weak. I don't know what's causing it; he's sound.''

Harlem Rocker heading back to dirt

Despite working a bullet five furlongs in 58.20 seconds over Woodbine's synthetic surface on Saturday, Harlem Rocker was removed from consideration for Sunday's Queen's Plate over that surface. He was to be shipped back to trainer Todd Pletcher's New York barn this week and will likely make his next start on dirt.

One possibility is the $1 million Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie on July 13. The Prince of Wales is the middle leg of Canada's Triple Crown. Harlem Rocker, owned by Frank Stronach, finished fourth in the Queen's Plate Trial at Woodbine on June 1 after he went 3 for 3 on dirt, including a victory in the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct in late April.

"We're waiting for him to get back here to assess things, but when I spoke to Mr. Stronach the other day the Prince of Wales was a possibility,'' Pletcher said.

Asked about running in the $200,000 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont Park on July 6, Pletcher said, "I suppose anything's a possibility. We'll get him back and see how he trains.''

Ravel returns to work

Pletcher worked a trio of his older horses on Monday, two of whom are making it back from infirmities.

Ravel, winner of the Grade 3 Sham Stakes in 2007, worked three furlongs in 39.92 seconds over Belmont Park's training track. It was his first breeze since he finished fourth in the San Fernando Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 12.

Pletcher said Ravel took a clod of Santa Anita's synthetic track in his eye and nearly lost it.

"He had a long recovery period; luckily, we were able to save the eye,'' Pletcher said. "He's come back, he's doing well.''

Pletcher said that he doesn't have a race picked out for Ravel, but that it would most likely come on dirt. Ravel won his only start on dirt in the Sham.

Circular Quay, who has won graded stakes at ages 2, 3, and earlier in his 4-year-old season, worked four furlongs in 52.03 seconds over the training track. Circular Quay, who won the New Orleans Handicap in March, was forced to miss last weekend's Stephen Foster after developing a sinus infection.

Pletcher said he hoped to make the Suburban Handicap here on June 28 with Circular Quay, but said he likely will run out of time and instead will probably train him up to the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga on July 26.

A.P. Arrow, who finished fourth to Curlin in the Dubai World Cup, worked five furlongs in 1:02.27 in company with The Roundhouse. A.P. Arrow, who scratched from the Pimlico Special last month due to a bout of colic, will point to the Suburban, Pletcher said.

Mott pair ready for Colonial Cup

Adriano and Court Vision prepared for Saturday's $600,000 Colonial Turf Cup by working five furlongs in company in 1:04.11 over Belmont Park's turf course. Bill Mott trains both 3-year-olds.

Owner Don Adam transferred Adriano from trainer Graham Motion to Mott about a week ago. Adriano finished 19th in the Kentucky Derby. Adriano has recorded two of his three career victories on turf, and his third came in the Lane's End Stakes over Turfway Park's Polytrack.

"He looks like a monster on the grass,'' Mott said of Adriano.

Court Vision, who finished 13th in the Kentucky Derby, will be making his first start on turf in the Colonial Cup. He has worked three times on the grass since June 1.

"Garrett [Gomez] was on him today and liked him better on the grass,'' Mott said. "He said he felt good - he was willing, he wasn't waiting, he was smooth yet kind.''