09/21/2006 11:00PM

Kaufy Machine back from layoff for hot barn


MIAMI - The red-hot team of owner Richard Averill and trainer Kirk Ziadie will attempt to continue their recent success when they send out Kaufy Machine as one of the choices in Sunday's $45,000 Whippleton Stakes.

Averill and Ziadie combined to win three races on Thursday's program, including the main event with Rgirldoesn'tbluff. They missed another winner earlier in the day when Ladyinblue was run down in the final furlong to finish second in a first-level allowance race.

Kaufy Machine appeared to be on the verge of becoming one of the leaders of the local sprint division when he finished a game second behind Nightmare Affair following a stretch-long battle in the Ponche Handicap on the opening weekend of the current session. But Kaufy Machine was forced to the sidelines after that race and will be making his first start in nearly five months in the Whippleton.

Kaufy Machine, a 4-year-old son of Montbrook, has been training forwardly for his return, including a 49-second gate work at Calder on Tuesday. But if he should come up short off the layoff, Ziadie might still end up in the winner's circle with stablemate D'artagnans'spirit, who competes in the name of owner-breeder Stephen White and runs as a separate betting interest in Sunday's race.

D'artagnans'spirit will turn back to six furlongs off a fourth-place finish going 1 1/16 miles in the Carterista Handicap on Labor Day. In his previous start, D'artagnans'spirit earned a career-high 98 Beyer Speed Figure while beaten 1 1/2 lengths by stakes winner Paradise Dancer under third-level optional claiming conditions.

Universal Form, who rose to the upper echelon of the local sprint division with his shocking win in the Grade 3 Deputy Minister Handicap last winter at Gulfstream Park, makes his first start Sunday since finishing far behind Nightmare Affair and Pomeroy in the Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap on July 15. Universal Form, who also was third in Gulfstream's Grade 2 Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Handicap on March 4, finished fourth, less than two lengths behind Kaufy Machine when they met for the first time in the Ponche.

The pace figures to be honest in the Whippleton with Kaufy Machine likely to get tested early by Blue Pepsi Lodge, Kopper Kilgoar, and perhaps Mr Maestre. Scrubs and Kite Falcon complete the lineup.

Douglas to challenge Cruz's supremacy

Manoel Cruz, who will ride Blue Pepsi Lodge in the Whippleton, has run away with the Calder jockey title this meet, but figures to have a battle for the Tropical-at-Calder crown with the recent arrival of longtime local favorite Rene Douglas.

Douglas, who just completed a tour of duty at the recently completed Arlington Park meet, where he was winning races at a sensational 25 percent success rate, is a former Calder riding champion. He won six races on a single card here on two occasions, doing it on Dec. 8, 1993, and on July 15, 1995. He is also the regular rider for one of the leading 2-year-old fillies in the country, Dreaming of Anna, who registered an impressive victory in last Sunday's Grade 3 Summer Stakes at Woodbine.

Douglas began accepting mounts at Calder on Saturday's Festival of the Sun Preview program. According to his agent, Dan Mellul, Douglas will split his time riding locally and out of town before beginning here on a regular basis with the opening of the Tropical session on Oct. 16.

o Villainage, runner-up behind the undefeated Straight Faced in the first two legs of the open division of the Florida Stallion Stakes, worked a mile in 1:46.80 here Friday as he continues to prepare for another meeting with his nemesis in the 1 1/16-mile In Reality Stakes on Oct. 14.