03/31/2010 11:00PM

Levine making do without his star


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer Bruce Levine will have two horses to run on Saturday's 11-race card at Aqueduct, but neither is the one he wanted to run.

As the trainer of Buddy's Saint, Levine was hoping he would be using Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Wood Memorial here as a stepping-stone to the Kentucky Derby. Instead, Buddy's Saint is on a farm in Ocala, Fla., recuperating from surgery March 23 to remove a chip from his right front ankle.

Levine said that Dr. John Madison told him the surgery went well - "They always tell you that," Levine quipped - and that Buddy's Saint could return to training in 90 days. Levine admits to feeling somewhat melancholy entering the weekend.

"More so this year, because you had one that had a shot to be there," Levine said. "But being in the game, I can't wait to watch the Wood, the Derby - 10 times more [exciting] than the Breeders' Cup. I just love the Triple Crown trail."

Buddy's Saint was disqualified from first in a maiden race at Belmont last fall before coming back to take the Nashua and Remsen - both graded stakes at Aqueduct. In his 3-year-old debut, he had a terrible trip and finished ninth in the Fountain of Youth. He was being pointed to the Wood, when the ankle chip was diagnosed following a workout at Gulfstream.

Levine hopes to get a consolation price when he runs El Rocco in the Grade 3 Bay Shore, though that horse will have to step up his game to defeat Eightyfiveinafifty or Raynick's Jet.

Cuff Me wins Lottsa Talc

Cuff Me had to work harder than her 3-5 odds suggested she should, but returned to her winning ways nonetheless, taking Thursday's $58,800 Lottsa Talc Stakes for New York-bred 3-year-old fillies by 1 3/4 lengths.

Under Ramon Dominguez, Cuff Me dueled with So N So through fractions of 22.08, 44.81, and 56.90 seconds for five furlongs before putting away So N So. She had enough to fend off Bailzee, who got second by a half-length over So N So. Cuff Me, a daughter of Officer, covered six furlongs in 1:10.01 and returned $3.40.

It was the fourth win from six starts for Cuff Me, who is owned by Michael Dubb, Stuart Grant and Bethlehem Stables and trained by Tony Dutrow.

What a Pear retired

What a Pear, who won the first four starts of her career but lost the last 11, has been retired from racing, said her breeder, Russell Cohen. What a Pear finished last in Wednesday's Indistinctly Stakes at Aqueduct.

What a Pear, a daughter of E Dubai, won two stakes last year, including the Busher for New York-breds, before suffering her first defeated when last in the Grade 1 Ashland. She never returned to her winning form.

"She just doesn't want to do it anymore," Cohen said.

Cohen said he hopes to breed What a Pear to Mineshaft or Corinthian.

Cool N Collective ceremony

An official retirement ceremony will be held for the 13-year-old gelding Cool N Collective on Saturday as part of a program designed to bring awareness to horse rescue and retirement organizations.

Mike Repole, the owner of Cool N Collective, and the New York Racing Association will donate a total of $30,000 to Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, and the Exceller Fund.

All three organizations will have an ontrack presence Saturday and will be collecting donations to support their rescue and retirement operations.

Cool N Collective will be retired to Old Friends at Cabin Creek: the Bobby Frankel Division near Saratoga. Cool N Collective had a record of 15 wins, 27 seconds, and 13 thirds from 81 starts with earnings of $678,836.

* Aqueduct will be closed Sunday for Easter. There will be no training at either Belmont or Aqueduct on Sunday. Belmont's main track opens for training on Tuesday.

* Mike Luzzi and agent Drew Mollica have agreed to part ways. Luzzi will now be represented by Kevin Meyocks, former agent for Cornelio Velasquez.