01/25/2005 1:00AM

High Fly running too well to pass Holy Bull


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - The waters may have just gotten a little deeper for anybody with a good 3-year-old pointing for the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes here Feb. 5. Trainer Bill White has reconsidered his options for High Fly, his undefeated colt, and is now leaning toward starting him in the 1 1/8-mile Holy Bull.

High Fly served notice that he will be a serious player in the 3-year-old division this season by registering a nine-length victory in the one-mile Aventura. The win was his third one-sided triumph in as many starts.

White originally said he was inclined to pass the Holy Bull to await the Fountain of Youth Stakes on March 5. But after sending High Fly out to work an easy five furlongs in 1:02.40 at his Calder base Sunday morning and discussing the situation with his owners, White said he decided to rearrange High Fly's itinerary.

"The Holy Bull has gone from a possibility to a probability for several reasons," said White. "He came out of the Aventura good and is on top of his game right now. He's not been over-raced up to this point in his career, having had only three previous starts. And I'm anxious to see if he'll go a mile and one-eighth."

White also said the timing of the Holy Bull and the two other major 3-year-old races at this meet, the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth and Grade 1 Florida Derby, figured into his decision.

"It's 30 days from the Aventura to the Holy Bull, and it's another 30 until the Fountain of Youth, and I think as long as he's doing so well there's no sense waiting another month to run him again," White said. "The schedule for the major 3-year-old races here is great, but unless you run in them all, there would be a significant gap between starts."

Dearest Mon to try stakes in next spot

Another lightly raced but promising 3-year-old with designs on the Holy Bull is Dearest Mon, who won a first-level allowance race on the Aventura undercard Jan. 8.

Trained by Rick Violette, Dearest Mon raced greenly before wearing down pacesetter Devil at Sea to win the 7 1/2-furlong dash by three-quarters of a length for his second victory in three career starts.

"I was really impressed with that effort under the circumstances," said Violette. "He was in a drive for the last half-mile of the race and was still able to get by the leader over a track that favored speed. The Holy Bull seems like a logical spot, since I think he naturally wants to go two turns. The other option would have been the Hutcheson, but that's at 7 1/2 furlongs and wouldn't fit our plans progression-wise."

Dearest Mon worked a mile in 1:42 at Palm Meadows on Monday.

"He went great," said Violette. "I caught him the last six furlongs in 1:13. The good thing about the Holy Bull is that under the conditions of the race we'll get weight from High Fly and any of the other major stakes winners in the field. And this race isn't the be-all and end-all for us. He doesn't have to win or squeeze it dry in this one with several bigger and better races down the road."

Violette was also quite pleased with the performance turned in Sunday by Bankruptcy Court, who withstood a stretchlong duel before outgaming Old Forester to beat a strong field of third-level allowance horses on the grass.

"He's such a neat little horse," Violette said of Bankruptcy Court. "I'd like to try him back in the Appleton, but that race comes back a little close, in just 20 days, off a hard effort like the one he had Sunday. But unless I want to send him a mile and three-eighths, the next turf stakes here isn't until March. He's also eligible for a four-other-than allowance race, so I'll just wait and consider all the options before deciding where he'll go next."

Mott has a couple in Sunshine Millions

Trainer Bill Mott will have two starters in the Sunshine Millions, Stockholder in the $1 million Classic and Silver Tree in the $500,000 Turf.

Stockholder will be making only his second start since being sidelined nearly 11 months following his third-place finish here in the 2004 Hal's Hope Handicap.

"He had a little minor injury and we just had to give him time," Mott said of Stockholder. "I'd prefer to have had at least one more race under him coming into this start, but we've gotten some good works into him here since his last race, and for a million dollars we'll take our chances."

Silver Tree will be among the favorites in the Turf. He is coming off a neck loss to Host in Calder's Grade 3 Tropical Turf Handicap, an effort that followed a fifth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Mile. Silver Tree won three races in 2004, including the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap.

"He's doing well and Jerry will ride him," said Mott, referring to jockey Jerry Bailey. "He ran well in the Breeders' Cup. He had no excuses. They just ran faster than he did in the final quarter of a mile. I was very happy with his last start. He had the lead and got beat in the last couple of jumps by a very good horse."

Day of Reckoning makes first U.S. start

Bailey will also be aboard Day of Reckoning for trainer Christophe Clement in Thursday's $33,000 allowance feature on the turf. Day of Reckoning, who will make her U.S. debut in the first-level allowance race, has not started since winning her maiden for trainer Michael Stoute in Great Britain on Aug. 23.

Day of Reckoning should receive her stiffest challenge from the undefeated Skip All Day, a 4-year-old daughter of Skip Away who is trained by Bobby Frankel. Skip All Day won her only previous start, a maiden allowance race on turf at Woodbine in October.