04/21/2009 11:00PM

Godolphin settles in with a dozen

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Barbara D. Livingston
Vineyard Haven is among 12 recent Godolphin Racing arrivals at Belmont Park, but is unlikely to race until late summer.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - While his primary focus is preparing Desert Party and Regal Ransom for the Kentucky Derby, Rick Mettee is also busy these days setting up the rest of Godolphin Racing's North American string.

A dozen Godolphin horses - including 2-year-old champion Midshipman and the multiple Grade 1 winner Vineyard Haven - cleared quarantine last weekend and are bedded down in Barn 4 at Belmont Park. Other Godolphin horses stabled here include Godolphin Mile one-two finishers Two Step Salsa and Gayego and the graded turf stakes winner Tam Lin.

Midshipman, who was ruled off the Kentucky Derby trail with a soft-tissue injury sustained in late February, has been out of training for about 60 days and will be re-evaluated in another month, Mettee said. For the time being, Midshipman is simply walking the shed row.

"They'll come up and reassess him in another 30 days to see if he can go back in training then or have more time off,'' Mettee said.

Vineyard Haven, who won the Hopeful and Champagne in New York last year, is walking under tack. Mettee said the horse will likely return to the track next week. In his only start for Godolphin, Vineyard Haven finished fourth in the UAE 2000 Guineas in February.

"He didn't train all that great in quarantine before he came over, then in Dubai he never really showed a whole lot, to be honest with you,'' Mettee said. "He ran about like he trained. I don't know if he was just not going on the Tapeta over there or whether it was the ship or what it was, but he never really showed a whole lot.''

Mettee doesn't expect Vineyard Haven to return to the races until late summer.

Mettee said Two Step Salsa, who went 2 for 2 in Dubai after being purchased privately by Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin Racing, is being pointed to the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont on May 25. Gayego, who won the Group 3 Mahab al Shimaal in Dubai before finishing second to Two Step Salsa in the Godolphin Mile, is a candidate for the Met Mile or Tom Fool Handicap on July 5, Mettee said.

Mettee said Godolphin's first runner in New York will most likely be Tam Lin in the Grade 3, $100,000 Fort Marcy on May 2. Tam Lin won last year's Grade 2 Kelso Handicap at Belmont. Tam Lin raced twice in Dubai, finishing seventh, beaten only 4 1/2 lengths in the Zabeel Mile before finishing 13th out of 16 in the Jebel Hatta Stakes.

"He's sort of a funny, temperamental-type horse,'' Mettee said. "But he always ran good at Belmont. I was glad to see they moved the Fort Marcy to Belmont.''

Mettee also said that Seventh Street, who won the Grade 1 Apple Blossom for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, has been transferred to his barn and will now don Godolphin's blue silks. He had been racing for Sheikh Mohammed's Darley Stable. Mettee said Seventh Street would run in the Grade 2, $150,000 Shuvee at Belmont on May 16.

Mettee said the Grade 1-winning fillies Music Note and Cocoa Beach wintered at Keeneland. Music Note, who breezed three furlongs in 37.40 seconds at Keeneland on April 11, is being pointed to the Ogden Phipps on June 13. Cocoa Beach could make her return in the Grade 1 Just a Game on June 6.

Unbeaten shippers spice up Withers

Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Withers was already an interesting race with Mr. Fantasy and This Ones for Phil in the field. Add to the mix a pair of unbeaten shippers in Supreme Summit and Everyday Heroes and the race becomes even more intriguing.

Supreme Summit, a son of Cactus Ridge, went 2 for 2 racing over the Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita. He won a maiden race going 5 1/2 furlongs on Feb. 7 and came back a month later to win a first-level allowance race going 6 1/2 furlongs. Trainer Doug O'Neill has always been high on this colt and said a good performance here could earn Supreme Summit a shot in the Preakness.

"We have to see how he travels and we'll have to see how he handles the dirt,'' O'Neill said. "But if we're happy with what we see, the Preakness is something we might consider.''

Eibar Coa will ride Supreme Summit.

Everyday Heroes, trained by Tim Ritchey, went 3 for 3 at Oaklawn. All his races were at six furlongs. The Withers is run at a mile around one turn.

"A one-turn mile right now is an ideal spot to test the waters,'' Ritchey said. "If he does well, we would try a two-turn mile. He's got a world of potential.''

This Ones for Phil, who was placed first by the Gulfstream Park stewards in the Swale, drew the rail for the Withers. The rest of the field, in post order, is Gone Astray, Seal Team, Supreme Summit, Mr. Fantasy, Everyday Heroes, and Just a Coincidence.

Giant Moon may try grass

Giant Moon, winner of the Grade 3 Excelsior Stakes on April 4, is likely to make his next start on the turf in the $100,000 Kingston Stakes for New York-breds on May 10 at Belmont Park. It would be his first race on grass after making the first 10 starts of his career on dirt.

Trainer Richard Schosberg said there is no ideal spot to run Giant Moon, a son of Giant's Causeway. Schosberg has mentioned the Brooklyn at 1 1/2 miles on June 5 as a mid-range target, but wants to run him once before then.

"It's an opportunity to try the turf against restricted company,'' Schosberg said. "There's so many options, but nothing's perfect. Either the distance isn't perfect or the surface isn't perfect. Hopefully, I can keep him perfect.''

* Two-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey Garrett Gomez will begin riding at Belmont on May 3, the day after the Kentucky Derby.

* Horsemen are reminded that the racing office will be taking double entries on Friday for the first two days of the Belmont spring meet.