08/22/2002 11:00PM

Howard brings solo shot to Spa


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Neil Howard kept his word.

Though Howard said he didn't have the stock worthy of stabling at Saratoga for the entire six weeks, he said he would ship in at least one horse to run. That horse will be Quick Tip, who arrived in Saratoga from Chicago last Tuesday to run in Monday's $100,000, Grade 3 Glens Falls Handicap.

"I told you I'd make an appearance," Howard said Friday from Arlington.

Quick Tip, a 4-year-old daughter of Unaccounted For, is coming off a second-place finish to 2001 Beverly D., winner England's Legend in the Grade 3 Modesty Handicap at Arlington on July 27. Howard said he bypassed running Quick Tip back in last week's Beverly D. because it was too quick back against a tougher field than he wanted her to meet. Howard said he chose the Glens Falls primarily because of the 1 3/8-mile distance.

"I think that's going to be really good for her," Howard said. "I think the Beverly D. - the timing and it was a Grade 1 - was too much for her. While no graded race is easy, this is a Grade 3, and we wanted to run her as far as we could so this makes sense."

Howard said Quick Tip worked five furlongs in 59.60 seconds at Arlington Park before shipping to Saratoga. As a 3-year-old, Quick Tip won the Grade 3 Florida Oaks on dirt. She is 1 for 7 on turf, including 0 for 5 in graded stakes.

Robby Albarado will also ship in from Chicago to ride Quick Tip, who was assigned 114 pounds.

Others expected to run in the Glens Falls are Orchid Handicap winner Julie Jalouse, Mot Juste, New Economy, Owsley, Tweedside, Golden Corona, Jennasietta, Lapuma, Sunstone, and possibly Refugee.

Harlan's Holiday nears return

Harlan's Holiday, the beaten Kentucky Derby favorite who has not raced since finishing fourth in the Preakness, worked six furlongs in 1:19.06 over the Oklahoma training track on Friday. Though the time seems slow, it was the fastest of four six-furlong workouts over the training track.

Now in the barn of Todd Pletcher, Harlan's Holiday is expected to return to the races in the $500,000 Pennsylvania Derby at Philadelphia Park on Sept. 2.

"He finished his last quarter in 25 and one on a track I didn't think was all that fast," said Pletcher, who took over the training of Harlan's Holiday in early June. "I thought he finished very well, and galloped out strong, and seems to be doing well. At this stage, I'd say I'm learning towards the Pennsylvania Derby."

Harlan's Holiday won the Blue Grass and Florida Derby, but finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby and fourth in the Preakness. Owner Jack Wolf moved the horse from Ken McPeek to Pletcher, and the decision was made to freshen the horse for a fall campaign.

"We accomplished some of the things we wanted to accomplish, putting some weight on him, freshening him up," Pletcher said. "He seems to be happy with himself and we're happy with him."

Million-dollar filly has tough debut

Perfectly Stunning's debut in Friday's opener was perfectly disappointing. Perfectly Stunning, a New York-bred purchased for $1.25 million at Fasig Tipton's select yearling sale in Saratoga two years ago, had a horrendous start and ended up finishing seventh in the 12-horse field.

Perfectly Stunning, a 3-year-old Silver Deputy filly owned by Debby Oxley, was the 4-5 favorite in the maiden race for statebreds. Ridden by Jerry Bailey, Perfectly Stunning was bumped hard at the start when the filly inside of her, My Girl Natalie, stumbled badly leaving the gate. Perfectly Stunning moved up between rivals on the backstretch and then tired in the stretch. She was beaten by 22 1/4 lengths by the winner of the seven-furlong race, Grab Bag ($22.60).

Perfectly Stunning's trainer, John Ward, said Bailey told him that "the horse that went to her knees went in front of her. That's why they write maiden races every week."

Sky Mesa may go in Hopeful

On Friday, Ward worked Sky Mesa, a good-looking maiden winner on Aug. 3, for a possible start in Saturday's $200,000 Hopeful. Sky Mesa, with jockey Edgar Prado in the saddle, went five furlongs in 1:02.45 on the main track.

Ward said that his wife, Donna, had wanted Prado "to go easy and rally a little bit the last eighth," said Ward, who remarked the track was a bit on the heavy side.

After winning his debut by 7 3/4 lengths on Aug. 3, Sky Mesa came down with a bug that affected several of Ward's 2-year-olds at Saratoga. Ward said he would wait a day or two before committing Sky Mesa to the Grade 1 Hopeful to make sure that the colt doesn't have a relapse. Friday's work was Sky Mesa's second since his win.

Ward said Mike's Wildcat, who finished sixth as the favorite in the Grade 2 Schuylerville on opening day, is still recovering from the virus that struck the barn and would not run in Friday's $200,000 Spinaway.

Ward also reported that Forest Secrets, who finished fifth in the Go for Wand on July 28, won't race again this year.

Ward said Forest Secrets, a 4-year-old, "has a ligament problem in one of her ankles and we have decided not to go any further with her this year." Ward said Forest Secrets would return to the races in 2003.

Forest Secrets, a winner of $573,986, won the Grade 2 Rampart at Gulfstream Park in March. Last year, the Forest Wildcat filly won the Grade 1 Acorn in a huge upset at Belmont Park.

Kimmel weighing options

Trainer John Kimmel said there is an "outside shot" that Silver Squire, who was involved in a controversial disqualification on Monday, would run in the Hopeful.

Silver Squire won his debut here on July 24 and returned on Monday to win an allowance race by 5 3/4 lengths, but was disqualified for lugging in and placed second.

If Kimmel skips the Hopeful, Silver Squire will be pointed to the $200,000 Futurity at Belmont Park on Sept. 15.

Kimmel said Hook and Ladder, who finished third in an allowance race last Sunday in his first start since March, could run back in the $250,000 Forego on Sept. 1.

"He came out of the race in very good order," said Kimmel, who added he wants to see how Hook and Ladder trains before making a final decision on the Grade 1 Forego.

o Belmont Park's main track will reopen for training on Monday. Belmont's training track will close on Sunday and reopen on Saturday.

- additional reporting by Karen M. Johnson