08/22/2005 11:00PM

Henny Hughes makes work look easy


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - If Henny Hughes is as sharp at 5:18 p.m. Saturday as he was at 5:38 a.m. Tuesday, he should have little trouble winning the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes.

In his final preparation for the seven-furlong Hopeful, Henny Hughes worked a brilliant five furlongs in 59.65 seconds just before daybreak. Henny Hughes, under exercise rider Rodolphe Brisset, began his move several lengths behind stablemate Grand Survival, a debut winner here Aug. 6, and easily went by him in the stretch as he got his last quarter-mile in less than 24 seconds.

Trainer Patrick Biancone called it a routine work for an extraordinary juvenile colt.

"He's not just any kind of 2-year-old," Biancone said. "He's different. He relaxes well, he's got all the qualities of a good horse. He does the job push-button - he's a pro."

Henny Hughes, a son of 1995 Hopeful winner Hennessy, is 3 for 3, including a 16-length blowout win in the Tremont at Belmont on July 4 and a 3 3/4-length destruction of Master of Disaster in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special on July 28.

"He's full of confidence," Biancone said. "Any athlete who's done what he's done should be full of confidence. Everything he does, he does so easily. Hopefully he can keep doing it easily."

Henny Hughes did Tuesday's work so easily that as he walked through the paddock on the way back to his barn, you could hardly hear him breathe.

Henny Hughes will likely be part of a short field in the Hopeful, run at seven furlongs. The confirmed challengers are First Samurai,

undefeated in two starts; Too Much Bling, a 19 1/2-length maiden winner at Thistledown who has been transferred to Bob Baffert; and Calder shipper Tizzys No Saint. Trainer Robert Barbara will likely run either Union Course or Winning Minister.

Grand Survival, the workmate of Henny Hughes, is also nominated to the Hopeful. Biancone said, though, that colt would likely make his next start in either the $300,000 Belmont Futurity on Sept. 17 or the $200,000 Arlington-Washington Breeders' Cup Futurity on Sept. 18.

Angara to prep in Athenia

Biancone has picked out an unusual prep race for Angara to get to the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. Biancone is pointing Angara, the Beverly D. winner, to the Grade 3, $100,000 Athenia Handicap at Belmont on Oct. 15, just two weeks before the Breeders' Cup. Though Biancone cautioned he could change his mind, his theory is based on Angara's success running back on short notice.

Angara won the Beverly D. just two weeks after running third in the Diana. Earlier this year, Angara won the Grade 3 Bewitch 11 days after winning an allowance race.

"That's what she likes," Biancone said. "She may not win her prep race - I don't care. For a filly like that the only thing that can improve her pedigree is to win the Breeders' Cup. She's a Grade 1 winner already."

High Fly works, Zito considers Forego

Florida Derby winner High Fly, unraced since finishing 10th in the Preakness Stakes, worked a strong five furlongs in 59.98 seconds Tuesday morning over the main track. High Fly, under Maxine Correa, picked up some

company when two Kiaran McLaughlin-trained horses broke off in front of him. In the stretch, High Fly came to their outside and went past them in what looked to be a solid move.

Trainer Nick Zito is toying with the idea of running High Fly against older horses in the Grade 1 Forego Stakes at seven furlongs here on Sept. 3. That race is no longer a handicap, however, and under the conditions of the race, High Fly would get only three pounds from the older horses such as Forest Danger.

If Zito skips the Forego, High Fly would most likely be pointed to the Grade 2, $150,000 Jerome Handicap at Belmont on Sept. 11.

Aussie import ready for Ballston Spa

Trainer Bobby Frankel will be sitting out the main event here Saturday, with nothing to run in the Travers. But he is eagerly looking forward to Monday's Grade 3 Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup Handicap, which will see the U.S. debut of a champion Australian filly, Alinghi.

The 4-year-old Alinghi won 10 of 16 starts and more than $2.6 million before being purchased privately by John Messara and sent to Frankel late this spring. Alinghi put a final exclamation mark on a steady string of strong works by breezing six furlongs in company with stablemate Leroidesanimaux over the Oklahoma turf course on Tuesday.

Alinghi went head to head with Leroidesanimaux, not put to pressure by jockey Edgar Prado at any time. The two were officially timed in 1:17.80 after breaking off a slow opening eighth-mile at the six-furlong pole, although private clockers and Daily Racing Form had the pair going in 1:12 and change from the five-eighths to the seven-furlong pole.

"That was pretty impressive, don't you think?" Frankel asked rhetorically back at his barn. "They galloped out an additional two furlongs in 12's."

Leroidesanimaux is regarded among the top turf horses in this country, having won his last six starts, including the Grade 1 Citation and Grade 1 Frank Kilroe handicaps. He will be the favorite in Saturday's Grade 2 Fourstardave Stakes.

"That's a pretty good colt Alinghi was working with this morning, and she stuck with him all the way," said Frankel. "I'm really excited about this filly and can't wait to see her finally run on Monday."

Just moments before Alinghi and Leroidesanimaux breezed, Frankel sent out High Limit and Greek Sun, who worked six furlongs in company in 1:18.40 over the Oklahoma turf.

Greek Sun has not started since winning the Grade 2 Oak Tree Derby in October. He is also nominated to the Fourstardave, but will not start in that race. Frankel said he is considering Delaware's $200,000 Caesar Rodney Handicap on Labor Day for Greek Sun.

"He came down with sesamoiditis" - inflammation within the sesamoid bones - "last year while getting ready for the Hollywood Derby, so I gave him the time off and he's ready to run," said Frankel.

Howard realistic about America Alive

America Alive, another candidate for the Fourstardave, also worked over the Oklahoma turf on Tuesday, going a bullet half-mile in 47.01 seconds. America Alive, who upset the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs, is coming off a third-place finish here earlier in the meet in the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch.

"He's doing well, but he's kind of a one-dimensional horse who needs a good pace to run at, and things haven't exactly panned out well for him in his three starts since the Turf Classic," said trainer Neil Howard.

Howard also confirmed Tuesday that he plans to run Shadow Cast against Ashado in Friday's Grade 1 Personal Ensign Handicap. Shadow Cast is coming off a seventh-place finish on the turf in the Grade 1 Diana. She won a pair of graded stakes earlier in the year, including the Grade 2 Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap.

"We're not going to dwell too much on Ashado," said Howard. "But it would be a real feather in her cap if she could even run second in a Grade 1 race, and I think that's real do-able in this spot."

Norman confident in The Daddy

The Daddy, among a small group of 3-year-olds expected to take on Lost in the Fog in Saturday's Grade 1 King's Bishop, blew out for the race on Tuesday, going an easy half-mile in 49.54 seconds over the main track.

The Daddy has won both his starts, including a New York-bred allowance race by 12 lengths earlier this month, and owner Greg Norman is confident The Daddy can compete with Lost in the Fog.

"We're not shy about running against top company," said Norman. "This morning's work was just to sharpen him up, since he ran only two weeks ago. We didn't come up here to run in a first-level allowance race for New York-breds. The King's Bishop has been the goal since we put him on the plane from California, and we knew when we boarded that plane that Lost in the Fog would be in the race, too."

- additional reporting by Mike Welsch