05/01/2009 11:00PM

Informed Decision works her way into picture


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Even though Indian Blessing's not running, the $300,000 Humana Distaff drew a field worthy of the race's Grade 1 classification, with a core of Informed Decision, Secret Gypsy, and Game Face well supported by secondary contenders Bear Now, Dubai Majesty, and perhaps even Tiz to Dream or Royale Michele. The other two in the seven-furlong Distaff are Modification, who might have a puncher's chance, and Temple Street, who does not appear to have much chance at all.

Indian Blessing was being pointed to the Distaff until Tuesday, when trainer Bob Baffert announced she wouldn't be entered after a workout Baffert deemed insufficiently energetic. Indian Blessing wasn't the only filly with workout problems this week. Informed Decision, who beat Ventura in the Grade 1 Vinery Madison last out at Keeneland, worked four furlongs in a slow 1:04 on Tuesday. Trainer Jonathan Sheppard thought the move was too slow, and gave Informed Decision another go at the Churchill surface Thursday, when she blew out down the stretch at the end of a gallop.

"My man who gallops her said she went very fast for two and one-half furlongs," said Sheppard. "He said she was like a rocket in the stretch. I feel better about it now."

Informed Decision has scored her most brilliant wins on Polytrack, but she can handle dirt, too. Sheppard said, however, that if the dirt at Churchill on Saturday "were very, very sloppy, I'd probably scratch her."

Informed Decision has a major stretch kick, but Secret Gypsy has brilliant speed, demonstrated since she broke the 5 1/2-furlong track record at Saratoga in her career debut two summers ago. Secret Gypsy struggled about this time last year, losing three in a row, but by season's end, trainer Ronny Werner had her right. No match for Informed Decision on Polytrack last fall, Secret Gypsy has won her last four dirt races by a combined 16 lengths, and a wet track would not hurt her at all, Werner said.

"I hope its soup out there," said Werner. "As long as it's not some kind of drying-out track. That's not her."

Game Face led the older-female sprint division over the winter at Gulfstream Park, winning the First Lady and the Inside Information, while finishing second in the Hurricane Bertie. At Churchill, Game Face has two wins and a second from three starts.

"I think she loves Churchill and Gulfstream," said trainer Todd Pletcher.

Bear Now mainly has been a two-turn horse, but turned back to seven furlongs in the April 9 Madison and ran third to Informed Decision.

"We were kind of experimenting in Lexington, and she ran a pretty good race," said trainer Al Stall.

Dubai Majesty finished fourth in the Madison, but probably prefers dirt, and may be sitting on a peak effort for trainer Bret Calhoun.