04/07/2008 11:00PM

Golden Yank best of locals


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Golden Yank worked a bullet five furlongs over the weekend as he prepares to defend his home turf against a host of shippers in the Grade 2, $1 million Arkansas Derby. The 1 1/8-mile race is expected to draw a full field of 14 horses when entries are taken on Thursday, with four starters from California arriving here Monday and four already having flown in Sunday.

Golden Yank has been one of the most accomplished 3-year-olds at Oaklawn this winter. He closed out his 2-year-old season with a third-place finish in the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Jackpot after winning a pair of two-turn stakes.

On Saturday, he worked five furlongs in 1:00.20. The Arkansas Derby will be his second start of the year; he finished a troubled fourth in the Gradeo2, $300,000 Rebel.

"He got slammed leaving there and then he turned down the backside and they squeezed him back out of there," said Gary Thomas, who trains Golden Yank and who won the Arkansas Derby in 1986 with Rampage. "He was lucky to be fourth, I thought."

Gayego led the charge of California shippers Monday. He arrived in good order, said trainer Paulo Lobo, who has Mike Smith riding. Also on the flight were Indian Sun, Tres Borrachos, and Victory Pete. A flight from Kentucky arrived here Sunday, with Liberty Bull, Blackberry Road, King's Silver Son, and Jazz in the Park.

Kohana, expected to fly in from Florida on Tuesday, will not make the trip, his trainer, Rick Violette, said Monday. His defection moves the Dallas Stewart-trained Shekinah into the body of the field, which is expected to be oversubscribed.

The Arkansas Derby will be broadcast live on ESPN. It will also be part of a national pick four with the Blue Grass and Commonwealth at Keeneland and the $75,000 Instant Racing at Oaklawn.

Miss Macy Sue returns Wednesday

Miss Macy Sue begins her trek back to the Breeders' Cup on Wednesday. She will make her first start since running a big third in the inaugural Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint in the seventh race, a $75,000 optional claiming sprint for fillies and mares at 5 1/2 furlongs. Miss Macy Sue will be a strong favorite against four others, and she will be ridden by Eddie Razo Jr.

"She's ready to get going," said Kelly Von Hemel, who trains Miss Macy Sue for Roll Reroll Stables.

Miss Macy Sue was freshened after the Breeders' Cup, in which she closed well for third, finishing two lengths behind the winner, Maryfield.

"I was really proud of her," said Von Hemel. "She had traffic problems around the turn, and at the quarter pole we had a lot of traffic problems. She still came around, and when she got free she made a good run."

Miss Macy Sue won 5 of 7 starts last year, and her connections are just starting to determine the direction of her campaign for 2008. The long-term goal is a return to the Breeders' Cup, said Von Hemel.

"It's a lot different this year as far as what our goals are," he said. "Last year, each step was stepping up to see how good she was. This year, we know where we're set. So, our sights are a little higher."

Von Hemel said races under consideration for Miss Macy Sue this year include the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs and the Grade 1 Princess Rooney at Calder Race Course.

Hollywood next for Zenyatta, Tiago?

Zenyatta and Tiago, who swept the pair of $500,000 stakes for older horses here Saturday, could run on the same card again next month, but at Hollywood Park. Trainer John Shirreffs said the pair are possible for stakes races on May 31. Zenyatta is a candidate for the Grade 2, $175,000 Milady, while Tiago is under consideration for the Grade 2, $250,000 Californian.

Zenyatta remained undefeated after four starts with her win over champion Ginger Punch in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom.

"She shipped across the country, and it was her first time on dirt," said Shirreffs. "She handled it so well."

Tiago won a stretch duel with Heatseeker for a head win in the Oaklawn.

"He's a tough performer," Shirreffs said. "He ran at Oaklawn like he did at Santa Anita in the Goodwood."

Tiago won the Grade 1 Goodwood by a nose last September. For his win Saturday, he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 110.

Oaklawn Handicap time corrected

Equibase, in collaboration with Randy Moss of Beyer and Associates, as well as Oaklawn's management and video department, have corrected the final time for the Oaklawn Handicap. The 1 1/8-mile race originally was hand-timed in 1:50.34, but the final time has been changed to 1:48.60. The corrected chart was issued on Sunday.

Moss, who was at Oaklawn on Saturday, and David Longinotti, the assistant general manager at Oaklawn, re-timed the race using a frame-by-frame video replay, according to Gary Wilfert, a steward at Oaklawn. The timer was apparently tripped prior to the start of the race, said Wilfert.

"It was the only race of the day that it did not operate," he said.

Williams suspended till meet's end

Jockey Dylan Williams has been suspended five race dates for weighing out with a saddle that did not include its attachments, according to a ruling issued by the Oaklawn stewards Saturday. The ruling was one of two issued on Williams. The other was a $200 fine for failing to report his proper weight to the clerk of scales. Williams, 17, was the leading apprentice this meet at Oaklawn.