10/21/2001 11:00PM

Juvenile: Reminiscent of Silverbulletday


ELMONT, N.Y. - Preparations for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile were non-stop Monday morning with nine of the 13 horses pre-entered for the $1 million race putting in their final workouts at four tracks around the country.

In Southern California, all eyes were on Officer, the unbeaten son of Bertrando, who figures to be the shortest-priced favorite on Saturday's World Thoroughbred Championships card.

Working shortly after 8 a.m. Pacific, Officer, equipped with blinkers, cruised five furlongs in 59.20 seconds at Santa Anita. It was the second fastest of 42 moves at the distance. Exercise rider Dana Barnes maintained a stern hold of Officer before knuckling on him ever so slightly inside the sixteenth pole, and he galloped out strongly. It was the type of move that only served to solidify his favorite's status.

"He's awesome, cut from a different cloth," said trainer Bob Baffert, who caught Officer galloping out six furlongs in 1:11.74. "I feel like I'm going in with Silverbulletday."

Baffert was referring to 1998 when he won the Juvenile Fillies with Silverbulletday, who was the 4-5 favorite. Baffert also saddled the second-place finisher, Excellent Meeting.

Officer figures to be 4-5 - possibly shorter - in the Juvenile. Baffert did express some surprise that 13 horses were pre-entered in the race, jokingly saying "Can't anybody read the Form?"

Officer, whose wins include the Grade 1 Champagne and Grade 2 Del Mar Futurity, is one of five unbeaten horses in the Juvenile field. He was expected to ship to New York on Tuesday with several other California-based horses.

Also at Santa Anita, Came Home, undefeated in three starts, breezed four furlongs in 48.80 seconds under regular rider Chris McCarron at Santa Anita. The work came five days after he breezed six furlongs in 1:12.60. In his previous two workouts, fog inhibited trainer Paco Gonzalez from seeing Came Home's entire breeze. Monday, he saw every step.

"I loved what I saw," Gonzalez said. "He worked very nice."

Came Home, who has not raced since winning the Grade 1 Hopeful on Aug. 26, could be the main speed of the Juvenile.

At Belmont, all six of the Juvenile contenders on the grounds put in workouts on an absolutely perfect autumn morning.

Jump Start, winner of the Saratoga Special in August, cruised five furlongs in 1:00.45. Jump Start, a son of A.P. Indy, was equipped with the same blinkers he wore for the first time in the Champagne where he finished second to Officer.

"I think he's coming along," said trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who has won the Juvenile five times. "Whether he's come far enough along to win the Breeders' Cup I don't know. With his attitude, make-up, size, and pedigree, the best is all in front of him."

Jerry Bailey got acquainted with Siphonic for the first time, putting him through a six-furlong move in 1:12.87, the fastest of four at the distance. Bailey, who has won three of the last five runnings of the Juvenile, said Siphonic acts more like an older horse.

"Nothing bothers him, he's very relaxed," Bailey said. "He doesn't get over anxious in his works. He's very laid back."

Asked about the prospects of facing Officer, Bailey said, "He'll make Officer run. Whether I can beat him has yet to be determined."

Trainer Eoin Harty was looking for different types of works from his pair of hopefuls, Norfolk winner Essence of Dubai and Norfolk runner-up Ibn Al Haitham. Essence of Dubai, under Lara Robinson, breezed five furlongs in 1:02.45 while Ibn Al Haitham, under jockey David Flores, went the same distance in 1:00.45, handily.

Harty said that Essence of Dubai had such a strong move at Santa Anita last week that he wanted something easier on Monday.

"If I worked him in company he'd maybe do too much," Harty said. "I aired on the side of caution. It was a little slower than I would have liked but I know he's fit, I know he's sharp. If he gets beat, it won't be because he worked in 1:02 today."

It'sallinthechase, the runner-up in the Arlington-Washington Futurity, went four furlongs in 47.62 seconds, handily, under exercise rider Edmund Reynaldo. Trainer Wilson Brown said he liked the way his colt handled Belmont's sandy surface. The colt came back blowing, something Brown expected.

Saarland, who finished fourth in the Champagne after stumbling badly at the start, went four furlongs in 47.54 seconds under exercise rider Lena Erikkson. Saarland, a son of Unbridled, worked on Lasix for the first time and will run on it for the first time in the Juvenile, trainer Shug McGaughey said.

At Churchill Downs, Repent, the winner of the Kentucky Cup Juvenile, worked a half-mile in 46.40 seconds under jockey Tony D'Amico, going each quarter in 23.20 seconds.

"He did it easy," trainer Kenny McPeek said. "I didn't want him to go that fast. Basically, I told [D'Amico] to sit on him to the quarter pole and from the quarter pole to the wire smooch to him a couple of times. He thought he was going 49 and change. This is a very talented horse. He's a sleeping giant."

At Arlington Park, Publication, winner of the Arlington-Washington Futurity, went four furlongs in 48.40 seconds under jockey Frank Lovato. Trainer Terry Knight had a horse break off a length or two in front and Publication ran him down in the stretch.