02/12/2005 1:00AM

Madcap Escapade a go for return


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Madcap Escapade's final workout in preparation for her much-anticipated return in next Saturday's Grade 3 Shirley Jones Handicap didn't quite go as trainer Frank Brothers planned. It went well enough, though, for Brothers to pronounce his star filly ready to go in the seven-furlong Shirley Jones.

Madcap Escapade was scheduled to work five furlongs without company here at Calder on Saturday morning, but after going an eighth of a mile she ran up alongside a worker from trainer Norman Pointer's barn. Madcap Escapade was a bit headstrong as usual, coming to and away from the pole, but appeared to settle in nicely with a workmate to her outer flank.

With exercise rider Ramon Figueroa never asking Madcap Escapade for her best speed at any time, she gradually pulled away from her workmate, who was under heavy pressure in an attempt to keep pace. Madcap Escapade completed five furlongs in 1:01.09 seconds before galloping out three-quarters of a mile in 1:14 and change.

"She usually cuts around the turns, but she kind of ran with that other horse instead of blitzing on by," said Brothers. "It wasn't what we planned, but it worked out fine."

Brothers said it is not unusual to see Madcap Escapade headstrong and anxious coming into her works.

"She's a blower and a goer, so that's to be expected," said Brothers. "And the difference this year, if she comes back to a high level, will be whether she'll learn to wait a little bit like she did this morning. That would make her a better horse."

A quality but compact field is expected for the Shirley Jones. Along with Madcap Escapade, it may also include trainer Allen Jerkens' multiple Grade 1 winner Society Selection; Ken McPeek's Brazilian flash, Covermemore; the Calder-based pair of D'Wildcat Speed and Expect an Angel; and Double Scoop.

Double Scoop also worked on Saturday, breezing a half-mile in 48 seconds at Palm Meadows.

New shoes do the trick for Muguet

Muguet had finished second in four consecutive starts against first-level allowance competition but that dubious streak ended here Wednesday with a little help from trainer Randy Schulhofer's blacksmith, Curtis Burns.

Muguet rallied from near the rear of the pack to register a neck victory in Wednesday's finale on the turf. She did so wearing a new set of glue-on shoes developed by Burns and for which Schulhofer had to receive special permission from track officials to use on the turf course.

"What sets these glue-on shoes apart from others is that they are not locked solid like traditional glue shoes," Schulhofer explained. "When glued on the foot and heel, it allows them to still be able to move and expand and absorb a lot of shock."

Schulhofer said Muguet, a 4-year-old filly, has suffered from thin foot walls, making it hard to keep regular shoes on her.

"The glue ones have been used on the main track before, but this was the first time they've ever been used on grass, which is why we needed special permission," said Schulhofer.

Muguet gave Schulhofer his second victory of the meet. The first was Union Place's win in the Ft. Lauderdale Handicap. Union Place followed that effort with a sixth-place finish in the Sunshine Millions Turf, when he was beaten 1 1/2 lengths despite running the top Beyer Speed Figure, 103, of his career.

"He breezed a little this morning, but he's been pretty quiet since he returned from California," said Schulhofer. "We'll probably run him back in the Canadian Turf Handicap on March 6."

Sutherland back, in the afternoon this time

The first time Canadian native Chantal Sutherland came to south Florida, it was as the regular exercise rider for Five Star Day, who shipped here to win the Thirty Slews Handicap on Breeders' Cup Day in 1999. Six years later, Sutherland has returned, not as an exercise rider but a jockey, to try her luck during the current session.

"I loved it so much when I was here for the Breeders' Cup, I said some day I'm going to come back," said Sutherland, 28, who rides regularly at Woodbine.

Sutherland knew catching on with possibly the deepest jockey colony in the country would be difficult her first winter in town. But she has already had a second-place finish for Allen Jerkens and is looking forward to her business picking up as the meet progresses.

"I'm so grateful Allen gave me a shot, and everybody here has been really positive," said Sutherland, who was the second-leading rider at Woodbine as an apprentice several years ago and has five stakes victories to her credit.

Former jockey Isaac Jiminez is handling Sutherland's riding engagements in south Florida.

* Jockey Denis Rojas posted his first victory in North America Saturday, guiding Sans Win to a wire-to-wire victory for trainer Ambrose Pascucci's in Saturday's second race. Rojas began his career in his native Panama. Saturday's victory came with the 31st mount the 10-pound apprentice has had in the United States.