08/07/2008 11:00PM

Macho Again has easy tune-up for Travers


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Dallas Stewart doesn't plan to do a whole lot with Jim Dandy winner Macho Again between now and the Travers, but on Friday he worked the 3-year-old an easy half-mile in 50.19 seconds over the Oklahoma training track.

With the former jockey Ken Bourque in the irons, Macho Again went his first quarter in 25.27 seconds and his second quarter in 24.92 seconds over a fast training track.

"Worked fine, he was getting over the ground good and clean, no problems,'' Stewart said. "He came back good, wasn't blowing much.''

Macho Again, a son of Macho Uno, rallied from off the pace to take the Jim Dandy by a half-length over Pyro on July 27, giving Stewart his first stakes victory at Saratoga. Prior to that, Macho Again finished fifth in the Belmont Stakes and second to Big Brown in the Preakness. Stewart said Macho Again has held up well during his rigorous campaign.

"His appetite's increased, his energy's been good,'' said Stewart, who plans one more easy half-mile work next week for Macho Again.

With Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Haskell winner Big Brown skipping the Travers, a large field is expected for the $1 million race. Those pointing to the Travers are Acai, Colonel John, Da' Tara, Harlem Rocker, Mambo in Seattle, Pyro, Tale of Ekati, Tres Borrachos, and You and I Forever. Possible runners include Cool Coal Man and Court Vision.

"I think the horse fits the race fine,'' Stewart said. "He likes this track, he ran very well last time, I think he'll have a big shot.''

Music Note, the 3-year-old filly who won the Mother Goose and Coaching Club American Oaks, will be nominated to the Travers by Godolphin Racing, but she is more likely to run in the Alabama next Saturday, according to assistant trainer Rick Mettee. A decision will be finalized after Music Note works Sunday.

Run Away and Hide ready for Special

Trainer Ronny Werner held Run and Away and Hide out of the Sanford Stakes here on July 24 because he thought the undefeated 2-year-old wasn't quite ready for that race. Friday, Run Away and Hide worked an easy half-mile in 50.61 seconds over the Oklahoma training track, after which Werner declared the horse ready for Thursday's Grade 2, $150,000 Saratoga Special.

"We got the work we wanted and we should be good to go if he comes out of that good,'' said Werner, who had jockey Robby Albarado up for the work.

Run Away and Hide has won both of his starts, including the Grade 3 Kentucky Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 1. Werner was pointing him to the Sanford, but didn't like a July 19 workout the colt had. Since then, Run Away and Hide had two bullet works before Friday's move.

"What I like about him more than anything is we had to get him up today to go work him,'' Werner said. "He's one of those good doers, just rests all day; he's real relaxed. Robby worked him this morning and Robby had to take a stick just to keep him in the work. He's just a real relaxed colt. That's such a great thing; it makes my job easier.''

A strong field is expected for the Saratoga Special, including Break Water Edison, Dueling Alex, Heir to the Stone, Lyin' Heart, Medaglia D'Onore, and Reynaldothewizard.

Grade 1 winner Bit of Whimsey retired

The multiple graded stakes winner Bit of Whimsy came out of her ninth-place finish in the Diana Handicap with a minor injury, and her connections have decided to retire her from racing, trainer Barclay Tagg said Friday.

Bit of Whimsy, a daughter of Distorted Humor, was among the top 3-year-old turf fillies of 2007, finishing first or second in six of seven starts. She won the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth Cup, the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere, and dead-heated for win with Rutherienne in the Grade 3 Sands Point.

In three starts this year, Bit of Whimsy finished sixth in the Jenny Wiley and Just a Game before her run in the Diana.

"She had a stellar 3-year-old year and we just haven't been able to get her 100 percent this year,'' Tagg said. "She won a Grade 1, a Grade 2, and a Grade 3, and was very impressive doing it. She had a minor injury, we didn't want to rush her, and she wasn't going to run past this year.''

Bit of Whimsy won 4 of 10 starts and earned $555,133 for owners by Joyce Young and Gerald McManis.

Discreet Treasure faces winners

Discreet Treasure, a half-brother to the Grade 1 winner Discreet Cat who won his debut by 12 1/4 lengths, will make his second start Sunday in a first-level allowance race at 1 1/8 miles on the dirt.

Discreet Treasure was scheduled to debut on the turf, but rains moved that race to the dirt. Trailing the field by 16 lengths, Discreet Treasure roared home an easy winner in the mud.

Sunday's $84,000 race includes Dr. Pleasure, a 5-year-old son of champions Thunder Gulch and Beautiful Pleasure who has just one win from 14 lifetime starts. He finished third in the 2006 Travers.

Premium Gold, a 6 1/2-length maiden winner at Monmouth on July 18, is also in this field.

After hoops loss, jocks try softball

When it comes to basketball, the Saratoga jockey colony is not smarter than a sixth-grader.

Members of the jockey colony lost a charity basketball game Thursday night, 49-32, to the Texas Titans of the Amateur Athletic Union youth league. The Titans, made up of soon-to-be-sixth graders, were led by Austin Grandstaff and Preston Troutt, both of whom scored 15 points.

The game, hosted by the New York Race Track Chaplaincy, was played for the benefit of the Disabled Jockeys Fund.

On Monday, the jockeys will switch their focus to softball, when they face a team from the New York State Police in an annual charity softball game to benefit the Disabled Jockeys Fund and the Clifton Park-based Catie Hoch Foundation, which helps children being treated for cancer.

The game will take place at the East Side Recreation Field at 7 p.m. Bill Parcells, the Super Bowl-winning football coach who now is the executive vice president of the football operations for the Miami Dolphins, will throw out the honorary first pitch at 6:30.