04/04/2008 11:00PM

Kohana to get acid test


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Kohana, who has won both his starts, will get a class check Saturday when he ships to Oaklawn Park to make his stakes debut in the $1 million Arkansas Derby.

Kohana, a son of Indian Charlie owned by West Point Stables, won his maiden by 1 1/2 lengths launching his career going seven furlongs on Feb. 1, then stretched out to a mile to capture an entry-level allowance by 1 3/4 lengths seven weeks later.

Kohana had his final tune-up for the Grade 2 Arkansas Derby when he breezed five furlongs in 1:02 at Palm Meadows on Saturday.

"The work went well," said trainer Rick Violette. "It was supposed to be a nice maintenance work, and he galloped out quite well."

Violette called Kohana "a nice little pro" after he won his last start, although even Violette admits getting to the Kentucky Derby remains a longshot.

"We're behind the eight-ball as far as the Derby is concerned, but he has talent and is very professional," said Violette. "Horses as tractable as he is usually can compete at any level. He's a little under the radar, but I don't think you could ask for two better races than he's given us so far."

Kent Desormeaux was aboard Kohana for each of his wins, but he will be handled by David Flores in the Arkansas Derby.

Violette also advised that Fierce Wind, who was transferred to his barn after finishing 10th in the Florida Derby, has been shipped to the Kesmark Equine Rehabilitation Center near Lexington, Ky., for a complete evaluation.

"We're going over him nose to tail to see if there's anything we can tweak or to come up with a reason why he ran such a disappointing race," Violette said.

Fierce Wind was purchased privately by Halsey Minor just before the Florida Derby. Minor also has Dream Rush, an Eclipse Award finalist last year, with Violette.

Hard to separate favorites

Bicoastal and Sally Bowles may vie for favoritism in an evenly matched field of 10 fillies and mares who will go nine furlongs in Monday's $41,500 allowance feature on the turf.

Bicoastal was beaten less than two lengths after chasing a fast pace when she finished fourth under similar allowance conditions here March 7. The outing was her first since she finished far back in the Grade 3 Cardinal Handicap on Nov. 17 at Churchill Downs.

Sally Bowles finished fifth, two lengths behind the victorious Kin to the Wind, making her U.S. debut for trainer Mark Hennig here on Feb. 17. Sally Bowles was a Group 2 stakes winner and Group 1 stakes-placed in her native South Africa.

Other key contenders in the main event include Tough Apples, Marista, Drop a Line, and Top Time.

Maiden to run in Holy Bull

Add Chief Bear's name to the list of prospective starters for Saturday's Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes. Trainer Reade Baker confirmed that Chief Bear, a maiden, remained behind when he shipped the bulk of his stable to Woodbine.

Chief Bear joins a lineup for the 1 3/16-mile Holy Bull that figures to include Dream Maestro, Famous Patriot, Mambo Meister, and perhaps Hey Byrn, Web Gem, and Samba Rooster.