03/20/2006 12:00AM

Jet West's workout time eludes West's stopwatch


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Confusion led to momentary frustration for trainer Ted H. West at Nad Al Sheba racecourse on Monday morning. The layout of the course, complete with its three-furlong stretch, kept West from properly timing a half-mile workout by Jet West, his hope in Saturday's $2 million Golden Shaheen for sprinters.

It was later confirmed that Jet West had worked about a half-mile (or 800 meters) in 46.50 seconds, which pleased West, who is making his first international trip with the 5-year-old Jet West.

"I tried to clock him, but I might as well have been using a sundial," West said.

Jet West has risen from a $62,500 claimer last summer at Del Mar to a contender for the Golden Shaheen, the world's richest sprint. He is one of five U.S.-based hopefuls, joined by Captain Squire, the winner of the Grade 1 Ancient Title Breeders' Cup Handicap at Santa Anita in October; Gaff, the winner of the Mr. Prospector Handicap at Gulfstream Park in January; and Proud Tower Too and Thor's Echo, the first and third finishers in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita in December.

Monday, Captain Squire worked five furlongs in "a minute and change," according to trainer Jeff Mullins. Captain Squire worked a furlong past the wire, and got the last half-mile in 45 seconds, Mullins said. Captain Squire was not given an official time.

Monday, Thor's Echo worked about five furlongs (1,000 meters) in 59.40 seconds, while Gaff and Proud Tower Too had light exercise.

The Golden Shaheen is run over a straightaway six furlongs. That type of course, one not seen in North America, has not affected American success. Since the Golden Shaheen purse was raised to seven figures in 2000, American-based runners have won five of the six runnings.

Last year, Saratoga County, who won the Grade 2 Genergal George at Laurel as a prep race, beat a field that included Pico Central, a finalist for the 2004 Eclipse Award for outstanding sprinter.

The five American sprinters are part of a 19-member team from the United States for the six Thoroughbred races on the Dubai World Cup program. There are five U.S. hopefuls in the $6 million Dubai World Cup. The first race on the program is for Arabian-breds.

Jet West, winner of the California Cup Sprint last November, will be making his fourth start of the year in the Golden Shaheen, having lost three starts at Santa Anita, including a second by a neck to Major Success in the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Handicap at six furlongs on Jan. 21.

His workout on Monday was his first major exercise after galloping for two days.

"He shipped real well," West said. "He hasn't missed an oat since he got here, and that's the one thing I look at when I ship a horse."

Owned by Bruce Hochman, Jet West will be ridden by Garrett Gomez. There are 14 probable starters in the Golden Shaheen, including Tropical Star, who was second to Saratoga County last year.

Grand Emporium out

Grand Emporium will not defend his title in the $1 million Godolphin Mile, a race that will have two American-trained runners: Island Fashion and Shamoan.

Grand Emporium was withdrawn from the race over the weekend after trainer Alec Laird said he was not pleased with the horse's preparation.

Island Fashion and Shamoan galloped on Monday. Island Fashion, 6, is the only mare among the probable starters. Second in the 2004 Santa Anita Handicap against males, she has not started since finishing third in the Bayakoa Handicap at Hollywood Park in December.

The Godolphin Mile will be her first start for trainer Julio Canani, who recently took over from Marcelo Polanco.

The Godolphin Mile field will include the French Group 1 winner Court Masterpiece and Lundy's Liability, who has won major stakes in Dubai and California in the last two years.

Americans try to crack turf barrier

An American-based horse has never won the $5 million Sheema Classic or the $5 million Dubai Duty Free, the two turf races on the $21,250,000 program. The two races will have record purses this year. Last year, they were each worth $2 million.

In 2005, Whilly, trained in California by Doug O'Neill, was second in the Dubai Duty Free, leading to deep stretch before finishing 2 3/4 lengths behind the Australian horse Elvstroem.

Whilly is one of three American hopefuls in the Duty Free this year, joined by The Tin Man and Host.

The Tin Man, 8, won the Grade 2 San Marcos Stakes at Santa Anita in January and was held out of the San Luis Obispo Handicap a month later in favor of this race. Whilly finished third in the San Marcos, losing by a length.

Monday, Whilly worked about six furlongs (1,200 meters) on the main track in 1:13.79, while The Tin Man worked the same distance on turf in 1:13.85.

Host, trained by Todd Pletcher, won the Shadwell Mile at Keeneland last October, but is winless in three subsequent starts.

The expected field of 14 for the Duty Free, run at just under 1 1/8 miles, includes David Junior, the winner of the Group 1 Champion Stakes at Newmarket, England, last October.

The Sheema Classic is run at about 1 1/2 miles on turf. This year, the American runners Mustanfar and Relaxed Gesture will have the difficult job of defeating the outstanding mare Ouija Board, the winner of the 2004 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. Trained in England by Ed Dunlop, Ouija Board, 5, beat males in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase in her last start in December.

South Americans try UAE Derby

Dominguin and Invasor, the two undefeated American-trained runners for the $2 million UAE Derby, are South American-breds who have not started in the United States. They have trained over the winter at Palm Meadows in Florida.

Both were foaled in late 2002, but because the race is open to Southern Hemisphere-bred 4-year-olds, they are still eligible for this race at about 1 1/8 miles.

Dominguin, trained by Dante Zanelli, raced in Peru last year. He worked about a half-mile in 49.14 seconds on Monday under retired Hall of Fame rider Angel Cordero Jr. Cordero is primarily in Dubai as an exercise rider for Magna Graduate, a hopeful for the Dubai World Cup.

Invasor, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, was unbeaten in five starts in Uruguay, including that country's triple crown.

The Maktoum family's Godolphin Racing has two probable starters who could be sent to the Kentucky Derby if they run well on Saturday.

Discreet Cat, a Forestry colt who was a maiden winner at Saratoga last summer, is making his stakes debut after winning an allowance race here on March 9.

Testimony, a maiden winner at Belmont Park last October who finished 10th in the Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs in November, is winless in two starts at Nad Al Sheba this year.