04/29/2010 11:00PM

Informed Decision fully primed now


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Informed Decision won the Vinery Madison Stakes at Keeneland in her 2009 debut, and three weeks later won the Humana Distaff Handicap on Derby Day. Six months after that, Informed Decision won the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, and in January, she was honored with an Eclipse Award as the top female sprinter of 2009.

Trainer Jonathan Sheppard and owner George Strawbridge would like nothing more than to retrace those steps in 2010, but Informed Decision broke the pattern in her seasonal debut, finishing third as the 1-2 favorite in the April 8 Vinery Madison.

"I was a little disappointed, not in her so much but in myself," Sheppard said. "I think I could've had her a little better primed for the race. I should have shipped her in early enough to get her a good work over the track."

Still, it was not like Informed Decision threw in a clunker; she ran well enough to suggest that she can step forward and capture another Humana Distaff on Saturday. Informed Decision is one of 10 horses entered in the Grade 1, $200,000 race, which is contested over seven furlongs.

"It just seemed like she was about 85 percent going into the last race, just the way she was acting," Sheppard said of the Keeneland comeback. "She was a little picky about her feed, just going through the motions. I think she's better now."

Informed Decision worked about a quarter-mile Thursday, striding out nicely past the finish and into the far turn. "That's what I was looking for," Sheppard said as Informed Decision slowed to a gallop.

What Sheppard is not looking for is rain: Last year's Humana Distaff win came in the slop, but Informed Decision labored mightily to get up by three-quarters of a length, and her only loss in seven 2009 starts came over a sloppy track at Saratoga.

Pace-wise, Saturday's race should set up well enough for Informed Decision, who can press or stalk as needed. Rail-drawn Dr. Zic slipped loose on the lead while winning the Vinery Madison, but could come under heavy pace pressure Saturday. The filly drawn in post 2, Warbling, led all the way through a sub-45-second half-mile on the way to victory in the Grade 2 Inside Information on March 14 at Gulfstream. Cassidy's Pride also has early speed, and Free Flying Soul likes to be close to the front.

Eddie Kenneally, who trains Warbling, said his filly need not wind up dueling for the lead. "She's very flexible," Kenneally said.

The 4-year-old Warbling has started only five times, with three wins, a second, and a third. She won her lone start at Churchill, and finished a close second in her only wet-track experience.

California shipper Mona de Momma makes her dirt debut for trainer John Sadler - and that probably is a good thing. Sadler came to Churchill with 10 horses, and the first two he sent out won.

"I only brought the horses I thought would like dirt," Sadler said. "I've been over so much synthetic, I think I have a pretty good idea by now which horses can make the switch. It's a combination of pedigree and body type."

Mona de Momma won the Grade 3 Las Flores on April 4, rallying from fifth at the stretch call. A fast, contested pace Saturday could help her, like it helps Informed Decision, but whether Mona de Momma is in Informed Decision's class remains highly uncertain.

Completing the field are Dubai Majesty, who finished in front of Informed Decision in the Vinery Madison, Double Espresso, Pretty Prolific, and Rated Fiesty.