01/12/2009 12:00AM

Haynesfield takes aim at Whirlaway

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Though weather could always alter plans, it appears as though the promising 3-year-old Haynesfield will make his next start in the $100,000 Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct on Feb. 7.

Carol Seaver, racing manager for owner Harvey Weinstein's Turtle Bird Stable, said the Whirlaway is a logical spot provided Haynesfield doesn't have to leave trainer Steve Asmussen's New York stable due to inclement weather.

"If he's up there, that's what we'll aim for," Seaver said Monday by phone from Ocala, Fla., where she was checking on some of Turtle Bird's other horses. "It's only logical if we're there."

Seaver said she would prefer to keep Haynesfield in New York "unless weather gets to where he can't train. Hopefully everything holds together, we continue as we have. He's a happy horse."

Seaver said Haynesfield was due to breeze sometime this week. High temperatures only in the teens are forecast for later in the week.

After finishing third in his debut, Haynesfield, a New York-bred son of Speightstown, has won three consecutive races. The streak includes the Damon Runyon Stakes against New York-breds, which he won gate to wire, and the Count Fleet Stakes against open company, in which he came from off the pace.

The Whirlaway is the second of four two-turn races for 3-year-olds run in New York prior to the Kentucky Derby. Following the Whirlaway is the Grade 3, $250,000 Gotham on the inner track on March 7 and the Grade 1, $750,000 Wood Memorial on Aqueduct's main track on April. 4.

"New York has a nice set of races lined up," Seaver said. "But it's step by step, as you know."

Pumpkin Shell picks up brother's mantle

Last spring, it appeared as though Pays to Dream was developing into one of the top grass horses in the nation. He dominated the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes on Preakness Day at Pimlico by 7 1/2 lengths before running a respectable third, beaten a half-length, in the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park on Belmont Stakes Day.

But before he could be unsaddled from the Manhattan, Pays to Dream's career was over. Galloping out after the race, Pays to Dream, who was suffering from heat exhaustion, took a bad step and suffered a fractured sesamoid that ended his racing career.

Saturday, his younger sister Pumpkin Shell did her brother proud with a solid last-to-first victory in the Busanda Stakes at Aqueduct. It was Pumpkin Shell's second consecutive victory after four losses.

"It's just nice that someone in the family could come back and do well," said trainer David Donk, who had both horses for Chris Dragone's December Hill Farm. "She's always shown a little quality. It was a pretty good race the other day with her style. Chucky [Lopez] said she won with something left."

Donk said he would most likely point Pumpkin Shell to the $65,000 Busher Stakes here on Feb. 22.

"Let's see what kind of race that is and then how aggressive we want to be after that if we're successful," Donk said.

Last year's Busher winner, Little Belle, won the Grade 1 Ashland and finished second to Proud Spell in the Kentucky Oaks.

Options abound for By the Light

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. has several options from which to choose for By the Light, who won Sunday's $66,950 Soft Morning Stakes by one length over Cammy's Choice.

Dutrow could wheel her back in 20 days in the $65,000 Correction Stakes on Jan. 31, or wait for the $65,000 Feel the Beat Stakes on Feb. 27. If he wants to keep her with New York-breds, which the Soft Morning was restricted to, Dutrow could wait for the $65,000 Broadway on March 1.

Finally, if Dutrow wants to get really ambitious he could point her to the Grade 2, $150,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel Park on Feb. 14.

"I want to run her where she's got the best chance of winning and making the most money," Dutrow said Monday from south Florida. "It looks like she got along with the inner track, so I got no problem running her back there, but the Barbara Fritchie is a possibility if that race doesn't come up tough."

By the Light's victory Sunday was her eighth from 12 career starts. She has never been worse than second sprinting and has banked $766,985 for Samantha Siegel's Jay Em Ess Stable.

Meanwhile, Dutrow said Mia's First, a 5 1/4-length maiden winner over the inner track on Dec. 28, would run back in the $65,000 Dearly Precious for 3-year-old fillies on Feb. 14. Dutrow said that should give Mia's First enough time to get over what he said was a big race on all accounts, speed-figure-wise.