10/20/2005 11:00PM

Imperialism loses credit for workout

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ELMONT, N.Y. - The New York Board of Stewards has ruled that Imperialism, a candidate for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Sprint, will not be officially credited with Wednesday's reported five-furlong work of 58.40 seconds at Belmont Park.

With trainer Kristin Mulhall aboard, Imperialism worked immediately after the main track opened at 6 a.m. The track clockers were unable to see the horse clearly enough in the dark to provide an official time. The 58.40 clocking was provided to the New York Racing Association press office by Mulhall later that morning.

"The stewards' position is that it was not an official work because the track clockers were unable to time the horse in the dark," said Carmine Donofrio, who represents the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. "We're not questioning that Imperialism actually worked. The gap attendant saw the horse coming off the track and said he showed every indication that he had worked. There was no violation involved, nor is there any problem with the horse running in the Breeders' Cup without the work, because he qualified under the workout rule, having run within the last 30 days. But we cannot accept the time of the trainer."

Mulhall said she worked the horse so early because she had to catch a flight back to California at 7 a.m.

"I wanted to work him at 5:30 a.m. but they told me the track did not open until 6," said Mulhall. "I was able to time him and get individual splits by pressing a button on my wristwatch as we pass the poles. Naturally it was too dark to see the times as I went along but I was able to retrieve them after I dismounted."

Mulhall was not concerned that Imperialism will not be officially credited with what would have been a bullet workout.

"I know he got a good work that should set him up nicely for his race," said Mulhall. "That's all that really matters."

* Smokescreen, the third-place finisher in the Pennsylvania Derby, worked five furlongs in 1:03.25 Friday morning over the Belmont main track. He is nominated to next Friday's $250,000 Discovery Handicap for 3-year-olds.

* Acey Deucey, who was forced to miss Saturday's Iroquois because of a minor injury, worked a strong five furlongs in 59.81 seconds on Friday. Trainer John Morrison is hoping to get Acey Deucey, winner of the Grade 1 Prioress in July, to the First Flight Handicap on Oct. 30.

* Ruler's Court, winner of a second-level allowance race on Sept. 14, worked five furlongs in 1:02.34 Friday in preparation for a start in the $250,000 Sport Page Handicap on Saturday.

- additional reporting by David Grening