07/09/2007 11:00PM

A healthy Flamethrowintexan raring to go


AUBURN, Wash. - The defending Longacres Mile champion, Flamethrowintexan, worked five furlongs in 59 seconds on Sunday and is on track to prep for this year's $400,000 Mile in the 6 1/2-furlong Governor's Handicap on July 29, according to trainer Jim Penney.

Flamethrow-intexan's route to last year's Mile went through the 6 1/2-furlong FSN Handicap, the one-mile Budweiser Emerald, and the nine-furlong Mt. Rainier, which will be run this year on the same day as the Governor's. He was scheduled to follow the same path this year, but he was forced to skip the Budweiser Emerald after coming down with a cough, forcing Penney to make adjustments.

"After missing the mile stakes and more than a week of training, he won't be fit enough to go 1 1/8 miles," said the trainer. "We're pointing him for the Governor's instead, and we're hoping he will get enough out of that race to set him up for the Mile."

Last Sunday's workout under regular rider Ricky Frazier was the second for Flamethrowintexan since he recovered from his illness. According to Penney's son-in-law, Bryson Cooper, it was a doozy.

"We told Ricky to go as slow as he could, but Tex took off like he was shot out of a cannon as soon as he left the pony," said Cooper. "Ricky had his feet on the dashboard the whole way, but that was as slow as he could get Tex to go."

Flamethrowintexan's clocking was the third-fastest of 32 horses to work five furlongs on Sunday.

Cooper said Get You, who was the talk of the backstretch after winning his 6 1/2-furlong debut over maiden special weight company in 1:14.20 on June 16, also exercised impressively on Sunday under rider Gallyn Mitchell.

"He basically galloped a mile at a two-minute lick, but Gallyn let him roll the last five-sixteenths of a mile, and he came home in a hurry," said Cooper. "Gallyn said he gets stronger the farther he goes, and that was what we wanted to hear."

Get You, a 3-year-old son of Katowice, is being pointed toward the $100,000 Emerald Downs Derby at 1 1/8 miles on Sept. 3. His connections hope to run him twice more before the derby, but they have not determined which races he will contest.

"Whenever a race comes up for him, he'll be ready," said Cooper.

Get You's debut win was the fastest 6 1/2 furlongs ever run by a maiden at Emerald Downs, and the second- and third-place finishers in that race flattered his effort by coming right back to win at the maiden special weight level. Stablemate Jamaican Bound returned on June 30 to graduate with a mile in 1:36.40, while the Tom Wenzel-trained Fathoms Revenge came back last Sunday to score with 5 1/2 furlongs 1:01.60. That clocking, too, was the fastest ever recorded at the distance by a maiden at Emerald Downs.

Planning strategy for The Great Face

Fathoms Revenge was the first of two impressive winners Wenzel saddled on Sunday. The other was the outstanding sprinter The Great Face, who led throughout to win the 6 1/2-furlong allowance feature under regular rider Juan Gutierrez in a sizzling 1:13.80.

After such a performance, it might be assumed that the 5-year-old The Great Face will go next in the 6 1/2-furlong Governor's on Longacres Mile Preview Day, July 29. That assumption could be mistaken, according to owner Ron Crockett's longtime stable manager, Lance Williams.

"We'll cross-nominate him to both the Governor's and the Mt. Rainier, and we really haven't decided which race he will run in," said Williams. "I know it seems logical to run him in the Governor's, but there are some strategic reasons to run him in the nine-furlong race instead."

One obvious reason to go in the longer race would be to avoid hooking up with Flamethrowintexan in the Governor's. A less obvious reason is that the nine furlongs of the Mt. Rainier might better prepare The Great Face for the Grade 3 Mile on Aug. 19.

"I think of Sabertooth in 2002," said Williams. "He might have had a better chance to win the Governor's, but Jim Penney ran him in the Mt. Rainier instead, and that helped to boost his stamina enough to win the Mile in his next start. The Great Face might be a similar horse to Sabertooth, and he is in a similar situation."

A final reason to run The Great Face in the Mt. Rainier is that he would ensure a legitimate pace for the late-running Don'twritemeoff, who will also contest the Mt. Rainier under Crockett's colors.

"I'm not suggesting we would use The Great Face as a rabbit for Don'twritemeoff," said Williams. "But they wouldn't get in each other's way, and The Great Face might be able to help Don'twritemeoff's chances without hurting his own. It's something to think about."

Villyard getting back to work

Trainer Aubrey Villyard returned to the track on Tuesday for the first time since he was found to have leukemia on June 8. Looking even thinner than usual but in good spirits, Villyard said he hopes to ease himself back into his former routine.

"I have one more round of chemotherapy to do, but it will be three days on and five days off, and I will be able to go home at night," he said. "I hope to come out to the track twice a week for now, and gradually step it up from there."

There is no hurry. With his wife, Sue, at the helm, the barn won the July 1 Tacoma Handicap with Wild Cycle and earned trainer of the week honors for Villyard last week.

"It's humbling," said Villyard. "I'm not nearly as indispensable as I thought."