12/02/2008 12:00AM

Gilchrist has different kind of shipper


MIAMI - There's nothing unusual about trainer Greg Gilchrist shipping one of his stakes stars cross-country from his Northern California base for a graded stakes at Calder. Except this time, instead of bringing in another of his seemingly endless stream of speedballs, Gilchrist has arrived in south Florida with a 4-year-old turf specialist named Wild Promises who promises to be among the key contenders in Saturday's Grade 3 My Charmer Handicap.

Gilchrist's last visit to Calder featured the freakishly fast 3-year-old filly Indyanne, who dominated the Grade 3 Azalea Stakes here in July. Among the bevy of Gilchrist sprinters who preceded Indyanne to south Florida was Eclipse Award champion Lost in the Fog.

Wild Promises has been nearly unbeatable in Northern California, especially on grass. She has captured 5 of her 7 starts this year, with one of those setbacks coming over the synthetic surface at Golden Gate Fields, her home track. She also won 5 of 8 outings at age 3 and has not been worse than third in 15 career starts.

"Outside of taking her to Hollywood Park for the final start of her 3-year-old season, we've pretty much kept her home, and she's definitely much better on turf than over artificial surfaces," Gilchrist said. "Being where we are, there just aren't a lot of opportunities to run her in races like the My Charmer. She's beaten some very hard-knocking horses around home, but certainly not the caliber of horses she'll be meeting this weekend. As far as a Grade 3 goes, it's not going to get any tougher than this race. We should find out a lot of things about her on Saturday."

Among the things Gilchrist is hoping to learn is whether it will be worth bringing Wild Promises, who still runs in the name of the late Harry Aleo, back to south Florida again in late January for the rich Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf at Gulfstream Park.

"I want to see if she can ship and if she can handle herself with this caliber of horses," Gilchrist said. "If she does, then we'll come back for the Sunshine Millions."

Wild Promises will have a new rider for the My Charmer, with Aaron Gryder replacing her regular jockey, D.G. Lopez, who is injured.

A full field of 12, plus two also-eligibles, was drawn Monday for the 1 1/8-mile My Charmer. Rutherienne, third in both the Grade 1 First Lady at Keeneland and the Diana at Saratoga earlier this year, tops a stellar lineup that also includes Grade 1 E.P. Taylor runner-up Callwood Dancer.

The My Charmer will share top billing on Saturday's card with the Grade 3 Tropical Turf Stakes. Two-time defending champion Ballast's bid for a three-peat will face a stiff test from the likes of Soldier's Dancer, Icy Atlantic, Silver Tree, and Spice Route.

Gilchrist pleased with Indyanne

Speaking of Indyanne, Gilchrist said he was extremely pleased with her performance in defeat in the Nov. 22 Sausalito Stakes at Golden Gate. Facing older males, Indyanne contested a lightning-fast pace before ultimately succumbing grudgingly to the older and more experienced Siren Lure. The Sausalito was Indyanne's first start since she was scratched out of the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint after becoming ill following an eventful van trip down from her home base just days before the big event.

"That performance was a lot better than people might think," Gilchrist said. "I missed a lot of time with her and at least one work as a result of the trip down to Santa Anita for the Breeders' Cup. I hated to run her against boys and I knew it was a good possibility we'd be setting the race up for someone else, but I didn't have a lot of options if I'm going to bring her back in the La Brea. I had to run her somewhere, and I really wanted to keep her home if I could."

The Grade 1 La Brea will be run Dec. 27 at Santa Anita.

Oilgonewile continues to improve

Trainer Joe Calascibetta had a good day Saturday, winning back-to-back races including the Georgia Debutante Stakes with the speedy and much improved 2-year-old filly Oilgonewile.

A daughter of Montbrook, Oilgonewile joined Calascibetta's stable during the latter part of the summer. She controlled all the pace under jockey Wesley Henry Sr. in the 1 1/16-mile Georgia Debutante before cruising home nearly five lengths better than 2-1 favorite Tailbytherail.

"She's been putting on weight and getting stronger and more aggressive in her training," said Calascibetta, who trains Oilgonewile for the partnership of Chester Bishop, Rohan Crichton, Stephen Screnci, and Wayne Ebanks. "Her previous race was her first around two turns on turf and she tired after showing speed, but she's more seasoned now. I don't think she's one-dimensional, either. She's shown she handles a wet track, too, so we should have plenty of options ahead."

Calascibetta is tied for fifth in the standings, with eight victories from just 26 starters during the Tropical at Calder meet.

The Georgia Debutante also capped off a big week for Henry, who registered a handful of victories after going winless during the opening month of the session.