03/04/2008 12:00AM

Hystericalady using Azeri as springboard


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Hystericalady's road back to the Breeders' Cup Distaff is scheduled to run through Oaklawn. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said earlier this week that the mare is being pointed for the Grade 3, $175,000 Azeri Breeders' Cup, a 1 1/16-mile race Sunday that serves as the final local prep for the Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap.

Hollendorfer said the Azeri is an appealing race for a couple of reasons, one of which is that it gives Hystericalady the chance to get back on conventional dirt. The last time she raced on such a surface she was second by a neck to Ginger Punch in the Breeders' Cup Distaff.

"If she does run well and she does like Oaklawn Park, then we have the Apple Blossom coming up the next month," he said. "So we're trying to make a strategy like that."

Hystericalady has raced once since the Breeders' Cup, finishing fourth as the favorite in the Grade 1 Santa Monica Handicap at Santa Anita on Feb. 2. Hollendorfer said she did not handle the synthetic surface that day. Hystericalady has since turned in two strong six-furlong works.

She was to have flown here Tuesday from Southern California, but her flight was pushed back a day due to a mechanical problem with the plane. Hystericalady had a banner year in 2007, winning the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs in May and the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup at Monmouth in August.

"If we can do well this year again, we'd like another crack at that Breeders' Cup," said Hollendorfer.

Hystericalady, a 9-1 shot, turned in a gutsy effort in the Distaff, run at Monmouth Park in October.

"I'm sorry that we didn't win it, but I was proud of her performance," Hollendorfer said. "She broke from an outside post and she got away a half a step slow and was well-placed throughout the race. [She] came up and actually got the lead in the stretch and fought it out with Ginger Punch."

Hollendorfer said Robby Albarado has the mount in the Azeri, a race that will also draw Grade 2 winner Kettleoneup and stakes winners Brownie Points and Gasia.

The Apple Blossom will be run here April 5, and it will share a card with the Grade 2, $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap.

Buzzards Bay may pass Razorback

Buzzards Bay had been pointing for the Grade 3, $150,000 Razorback Breeders' Cup here Saturday, but after his flight from Southern California was canceled Tuesday, trainer Ron Ellis said he was leaning against sending the horse. Buzzards Bay, Hystericalady and Racketeer, who also was expected for the Razorback, all boarded the flight, but upon taxiing on the runway a mechanical issue was discovered and the flight was rescheduled for Wednesday, according to Greg Otteson, sales manager with the Tex Sutton horse transport company.

Ellis said Buzzards Bay traveled to the airport from his Hollywood Park base at 2:30 a.m. Pacific time on Tuesday morning, and as of 10:30 a.m. was not yet back home. He said the time element will factor into the decision on the Razorback.

"If we do skip it, we'll probably point toward the Oaklawn Handicap, and I'll train him up to it," said Ellis.

Buzzards Bay won the Oaklawn Handicap in 2006 with a career-best Beyer of 110.

The Razorback is the race's final local prep. Going Ballistic, who last year won the Grade 2 Super Derby, was committed to the Razorback by trainer Donnie Von Hemel after he breezed five furlongs at Oaklawn in 1:00 on Sunday. Trainer Randy Morse said Jonesboro is also probable. He breezed five-eighths in 59.60 here Sunday. Others expected to enter include Zanjero, Spotsgone, and Prom Shoes.

Pure Clan on pace for Honeybee

Kentucky Oaks candidate Pure Clan turned in a major work here Tuesday as she closes in on her season debut, scheduled for March 16 in the Grade 3, $100,000 Honeybee. She worked right after the break, breezing six furlongs over a track rated good in 1:13.60.

Jockey Calvin Borel was aboard for the move, which began at the five-eighths pole and continued to the seven-eighths pole. Clockers logged fractions of 12.68 seconds for Pure Clan's opening eighth of a mile, 24.95 for the first quarter, 37.89 for three furlongs, 1:01.28 for five furlongs, and out seven furlongs in 1:26.80.

"It's 13 days before the race, and I wanted a real solid work in her," said Bob Holthus, who trains the undefeated Pure Clan. "That's why I had Calvin on her."

Julien Leparoux has ridden Pure Clan in each of her starts and will be in to ride her in the Honeybee. In her last start, Pure Clan won the Grade 2 Golden Rod at Churchill Downs in November.