06/08/2010 11:00PM

Kruger Park finds right race - in Florida


AUBURN, Wash. - Kruger Park, third in the Seattle Handicap in his last start, is one of six horses entered to run Saturday in the $65,000 Ponche Handicap at Calder Race Course in Miami.

Kruger Park was still in his stall at Emerald on Tuesday and was scheduled for a workout Wednesday morning before leaving for Florida, trainer Carlos Moreno said, though nothing was set in stone because Moreno had yet to finalize travel arrangements.

Moreno said the one-mile Budweiser Handicap at Emerald on June 20 wasn't an option for Kruger Park. The Ponche is at six furlongs. A 6-year-old Johannesburg gelding, Kruger Park finished two lengths behind Noosa Beach in the Seattle Handicap on May 16 in his first start following a two-month layoff.

"He came out of the last race super, but we were short and I knew we'd be short," Moreno said. "He had some foot problems in Portland and he did nothing but walk for 19 days. But he's a handful right now. He's a better horse that he was a year ago."

Kruger Park has won 4 of 8 starts since March 2009, when Moreno claimed him for $50,000 at Santa Anita. He captured the six-furlong Seattle Handicap and the 6 1/2-furlong Fox Sports Net Handicap last summer, but was off the board in two subsequent starts at a mile. The next sprint stakes for older horses at Emerald is the $50,000 Governor's Handicap on July 11.

"There's no races for him here," Moreno said. "I can't find one for him at Golden Gate, either, so I shopped around and found this race at Calder. I have to find a place to run."

Should he make the trip to south Florida, Kruger Park could have his hands full with Big Drama, who finished first but was disqualified to second in the Grade 2 Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park last March and finished second in the Grade 3 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer in August. Kruger Park drew the outside post in the field of six. Edgar Perez, fourth in the Calder jockey standings, was named to ride.

Condilenios targets Longacres Mile

Ever since his stable star, Teide, finished second in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile last August, trainer Dino Condilenios has been focused on winning the 2010 renewal of the Northwest's richest race. Condilenios has a powerful stable at Hastings in Vancouver, and if all goes as planned, his best horse will start in the $250,000 Mile on Aug. 22.

Right now, Condilenios said, he has no idea who that horse might be.

Almost Time and Teide, both trained by Condilenios, ran one-two on Sunday in the $54,790 John Longden 6000 at Hastings. Eight days earlier, Burj Dubai, a $1 million Keeneland yearling, made his debut in a

6 1/2-furlong maiden race, and the results -- an eight-length victory and a 90 Beyer Speed Figure -- stamped the 4-year-old by Distorted Humor as an instant stakes runner.

Condilenios said any or all of the three - all owned by Swift Thoroughbreds - could earn a start in the Mile. He'll let them sort things out over the next several weeks.

Almost Time surged past Teide on Sunday after Teide, the 3-5 favorite, engaged in a breakneck speed duel with Tommy Danzigger. The final time for 1 1/16 miles was 1:42.93, less than a second off the track record.

"Almost Time is about as nice a horse as I've trained," Condilenios said. "The problem is, he has a lot of little issues that creep up when he runs more than two or three times. If we can keep him together, and so far so good, who knows?"

"Teide is a super-nice horse, too. His first race this year was the best sprint he's run in his life. And Burj Dubai was about as impressive in his debut as any horse in these parts. The rider didn't lay a stick on him; he didn't even move his hands. I knew he was nice, but, wow, he was really impressive."

Ladyledue in foal to Birdstone

Ladyledue, the top 3-year-old filly at Emerald last summer, is in foal to Birdstone and thriving in her new role as a broodmare after an injury cut short her racing career.

Ladyledue capped the 2009 Emerald meeting with a victory in the John and Kitty Fletcher Stakes in September. Shortly thereafter, owner Jon Sather, of Manson, Wash., sent her to Kentucky-based trainer Ian Wilkes with designs on the Grade 2, $150,000 Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs on Thanksgiving Day. But Ladyledue suffered a displaced condylar fracture in a workout nine days before her scheduled start and underwent life-saving surgery a couple of hours later.

"I was headed back there that day, driving over Snoqualmie Pass when I got the call," Sather said. "It was devastating. She's such a nice mare."

Trained at Emerald by Bonnie Jenne, Ladyledue won 6 of 7 career starts and earned $147,271.

"I've only got two horses with Bonnie right now," Sather said. "We've got a half-brother to Ladyledue, and we're kind of nursing him along. He's got good speed, but he's no Lady."