07/17/2007 12:00AM

Imawildandcrazyguy gets needed race


MIAMI - Mission accomplished.

That's how trainer Bill Kaplan would sum up Imawildandcrazyguy's 3 3/4-length allowance win here Saturday, the first victory for the gelding during a 3-year-old campaign that had seen him run fourth in the Kentucky Derby and sixth in the Belmont Stakes.

"Saturday was all about getting a race to prepare him for what we've got planned in August, and fortunately everything worked out perfectly," Kaplan said. "I was very pleased with his performance. It was just what I expected. Even though he got steadied a little down the backstretch, he was close enough where I wasn't worried. I knew he'd have a big finishing run down the stretch."

Imawildandcrazyguy was shuffled to last after the opening half of the one-mile allowance race, but had little trouble running down the leaders once he settled into the stretch under jockey Manoel Cruz.

"I was really happy this race came up at a mile because I was looking to put a little speed into him after going a mile and one-half and a mile and one-quarter in his last two starts," Kaplan said. "And, because he's going to have to go a mile and one-eighth and not a mile and a quarter in his next start."

The next start Kaplan is referring to will be the $1 million Haskell at Monmouth Park.

"There are several reasons we've chosen the Haskell," Kaplan said. "It's the right race at the right place and they offer a lot of incentives to run there, including the fact there are no entry or starting fees because it's an invitational."

Kaplan said that Cruz, who rode Imawildandcrazyguy for the first time Saturday, will retain the mount for the Haskell.

Kaplan developed three of his juveniles of 2006 into top 3-year-old prospects this season, and appears to have another good 2-year-old prospect on his hands, considering the manner in which Calico Bay won her debut over a wet track here July 7. Calico Bay, a daughter of Three Wonders, is owned by Herb and Ione Elkins and will be pointed for the $100,000 Desert Vixen division of the Florida Stallion Stakes on Aug. 11.

Bond Princess eyes Desert Vixen

Another very promising filly with designs on the six-furlong Desert Vixen is Bond Princess, who turned in a professional performance winning her debut here Sunday. Bond Princess, a half-sister to the stakes winner Papi Chullo, overcame early trouble. She slipped through inside the tiring leaders en route to a convincing 9 1/2-length victory in the first 2-year-old maiden race decided at six furlongs here this season.

"She'd trained like a good horse coming into the race and ran to expectations," trainer Tim Ritvo said. "And she gives the impression the further she goes the better she'll get."

Bond Princess was one of four winners on Sunday's card for Elvis Trujillo, who regained the lead in the see-saw battle for leading rider honors with Cruz.

Ritvo had a good day on two fronts Sunday. The New England native also won the first race at Belmont Park with Stashed Away, who returned from an 8 1/2-month layoff to defeat mid-priced conditioned claiming horses on the turf. Ritvo has 25 horses stabled in New York and another 40 locally.

Impressive performances by apprentices

Apprentice Edilberto Dominguez became the second jockey within a 48-hour span to celebrate his first career victory here after guiding C.C. Glider to an easy win in Sunday's 11th race. Fellow 10-pound bug Paco Lopez posted his first win astride Anarkali on Friday.

But Dominguez's milestone paled in comparison to the display of horsemanship turned in by another neophyte jockey, apprentice Eliut Morales, in Sunday's finale. Riding in the first race of his career, Morales was nearly knocked out of the saddle when his horse Straight Angels was bumped by Widow Tapp in the run to the first turn of the one-mile maiden claiming race. Morales found himself turned completely around in the saddle while teetering precariously from his right iron. He managed not only to right himself and somehow scramble back aboard the filly, but also to finish the race - albeit about a sixteenth of a mile behind the winner.