09/23/2003 11:00PM

Ivanavinalot gets ready to try turf


MIAMI - Ivanavinalot was the top 2-year-old filly on the grounds here at Calder last season and remained the undisputed queen of the south Florida division last winter with her victory in the Grade 2 Bonnie Miss Stakes at Gulfstream Park. But following three subpar performances, including a dismal sixth-place showing in the Office Queen Stakes on June 14, Ivanavinalot was sent to the farm of owner-breeder Gil Campbell for a much needed freshening.

Ivanavinalot returned to trainer Kathleen O'Connell's barn earlier this month and looked like her old self working here Monday morning. There was one major difference, however. Her latest work came over the turf.

Ivanavinalot worked five furlongs in 58.80 seconds and galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.40, according to O'Connell, who couldn't have been more pleased with Ivanavinalot.

"That was more like her," O'Connell said. "She's always had her share of physical problems and she just got a little sour during the spring. I'd always wanted to try her on the turf but she was running so well on dirt it was hard to switch her over. But she seems really happy on the grass and it looks like she may be ready to start her second career now."

O'Connell said she has not picked out a definite spot for Ivanavinalot's return although she said the $200,000 Calder Oaks, a 1 1/8-mile grass race on Oct. 11, is a possibility.

Ivanavinalot's impressive grass work was just what the doctor ordered for O'Connell, who was still a bit disconsolate from Tap Dancer's sixth-place finish in last Saturday's Foolish Pleasure Stakes. The loss came after Tap Dancer, a 2-year-old homebred son of Sword Dance who is also owned by Campbell, had won back-to-back races.

"Everything was lost into the first turn in that race," said O'Connell. "He got bumped by the 9 horse leaving the gate and then was shuffled back and forced wide into the turn. With no pace in the race he had no chance after that. You just can't expect a horse to make up ground against that caliber competition when there is no pace."

O'Connell said she will just throw out the Foolish Pleasure and will point Tap Dancer for the $400,000 In Reality Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes on Oct. 11.

Festival of Sun nominations close

Nominations to the four major undercard races on the Oct. 11 Festival of the Sun program close Saturday. The races include the Grade 3, $200,000 Calder Derby for 3-year-olds, and its filly counterpart, the $200,000 Calder Oaks, as well as the $100,000 Spend a Buck Handicap and its filly companion, the $100,000 Shocker T. Handicap.

Among the other stakes on the card are the six-furlong Cassidy and Birdonthewire stakes for 2-year-olds. Both races carry purses of $75,000. Among the early favorites for the Cassidy are a pair of undefeated juveniles, Wynn Dot Comma and Misguided Left.

'Judge' will resume training soon

Trainer Milt Wolfson reports that his handicap star The Judge Sez Who should be returning to his barn by the end of the month. The Judge Sez Who underwent knee surgery for the second time in his career earlier this summer.

Wolfson's primary goal for The Judge Sez Who is the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic at Santa Anita Park on Jan. 24. The Judge Sez Who finished fourth behind arch-rival Best of the Rest in the inaugural Sunshine Millions Classic last winter at Gulfstream Park.

"I just hope I don't run out of time getting him ready for that race," said Wolfson. "I'd like to be able to get at least one and hopefully two races under his belt before the million dollar race."