02/19/2008 1:00AM

Majestic Warrior headed to Louisiana Derby


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Majestic Warrior is diving right into the fire. Last year's Hopeful Stakes winner, who has not raced since suffering his first loss in the Champagne Stakes, Majestic Warrior will make his first start of the year against Risen Star Stakes winner Pyro in the Grade 2, $600,000 Louisiana Derby on March 8, trainer Bill Mott said Tuesday.

"He's ready. I think he's doing good," Mott said while observing the string of horses he has at Gulfstream Park. "Of course there's a couple of others going to that race who are doing pretty good, too."

Mott said he thought the Louisiana Derby was the best option, even though the prospective field - including Pyro, Tale of Ekati, Blackberry Road, Yankee Bravo, and possibly Visionaire - is strong.

"I like the racetrack," he said of Fair Grounds. "It's a pretty fair racetrack. You can close ground. Pyro's there, but any race you go to at this time of year is not going to be a giveaway. They're all going to be competitive.

"You shouldn't be ducking any one horse. My horse has held his own against good company. I don't think we want to be in the position of ducking and diving. We've got to pick our spot and hope it works out."

Mott said being able to come back in early March, as opposed to later in the month, was appealing, too.

"I'd rather get started then," he said. "There's limited options if you don't get going then."

Golden Spikes preps for Fountain

The biggest race of the week at Gulfstream is the Grade 2, $350,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes on Sunday, with at least nine 3-year-olds expected to be entered Thursday in the 1 1/8-mile race.

Cool Coal Man and Golden Spikes both are heading to the Fountain of Youth following a one-two finish in a 1 1/8-mile allowance race here on Jan. 26, and on Tuesday at Calder, Golden Spikes completed his preparation for this weekend's stakes with an easy five-furlong breeze in 1:03.40 on a wet-fast track for trainer Marty Wolfson.

Javier Castellano will ride Golden Spikes for the first time.

In addition to those two colts, the Fountain of Youth field is expected to include Adriano, Anak Nakal, Court Vision, Elysium Fields, Kentucky Bear, Make the Point, and Monba.

Tagg may run three in turf stakes

Cougar Bay and Dave already were under consideration by trainer Barclay Tagg for the Grade 1, $350,000 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Turf on Saturday, and now Tagg might add Fracas to the mix following a sharp workout on Monday at Palm Meadows in 58 seconds for five furlongs on turf .

"He worked awfully good," Tagg said Tuesday at his Gulfstream Park barn. "He and Cougar Bay worked together."

Fracas is a native of Ireland who would be making his first United States start in the Gulfstream Park Turf. He was a Group 3 winner last year, when he finished first or second in 6 of 7 starts.

Cougar Bay, another Irish horse, has raced three times in this country, and most recently was fourth in a second-level allowance here.

Dave, a veteran of 36 starts, won the Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct last fall. Last time out, he was fourth in the McKnight Handicap at Calder.

In addition to Tagg's trio, others expected to be entered on Wednesday in the 1 3/8-mile grass race were Cosmonaut, Dancing Forever, Einstein, Notable Guest, Palace Episode, Shamdinan, Stream of Gold, Thorn Song, and Zann.

Well-bred colt debuts for Mott

You and I Forever, a colt by A.P Indy out of the multiple-stakes-winning mare You, is set to make his first start in Thursday's sixth race, for 3-year-old maidens.

"He was a little bit of a backwards type, so didn't come in to me until the fall of his 2-year-old year," said Mott, his trainer. "He's been working steadily since. I'm anxious to see him run."

Asked if You and I Forever took more after A.P. Indy, the winner of the Belmont Stakes and Breeders' Cup Classic, or the fleet You, who won the Test Stakes, Mott said, "A.P. Indy."

"He's not a speedster," he said.

Also in that maiden race is Groomedforvictory, who has finished second twice and third once in three starts for Tagg, who said he believes Groomedforvictory has plenty of upside.

"I think he'll be a nice horse," Tagg said.

Why Tonto will stick to turf

Why Tonto scored a mild upset over stablemate Cowboy Cal in the Hallandale Beach Stakes last Saturday, and both will head in different directions for their next starts, according to trainer Todd Pletcher.

Why Tonto "came out of the race in perfect condition," Pletcher said, and will remain on turf for at least his next two starts. Pletcher said Why Tonto will be pointed to the Grade 3, $150,000 Palm Beach Stakes here on March 29, and then the Grade 3, $400,000 Calder Derby on April 26.

Cowboy Cal, in contrast, emerged from the race with a "sore gluteal muscle in his left rear," Pletcher said.

"That probably explains why he wasn't cornering so well on the turns," Pletcher said. "He'll probably jog for a week or 10 days. I think we're still in good shape to make the Blue Grass," the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby prep on April 12 at Keeneland.

Chavez turns back the clock

It was just like old times for jockey Jorge Chavez, who won four races on Monday's card. Chavez is a four-time Gulfstream Park riding champion. He captured local honors for the first time in 1989, then came back a decade later to win three successive titles from 1999-2001.

Chavez posted his four bagger for four different trainers on Monday, taking the second race aboard Silvery Whisper for Steve DiMauro, the fifth with Holy Land for Henry Collazo, the seventh on the Angel Salinas-trained Highly Honored, and the finale with Kiss on a Star for Sandra Slivka.

Chavez has steadily ascended the jockey standings over the last several weeks, his four wins on Monday giving him 24 for the meet and putting him in sixth behind leading rider Eibar Coa.

Flying Circle retired

Trainer David Fawkes reported that the multiple stakes winner Flying Circle has been retired due to an injury to her right foreleg sustained last week.

Flying Circle registered her biggest victory over her home course last summer at Calder when she captured the Distaff Turf Sprint Championship Handicap. She ended her career with a second in the Leggio Memorial Handicap on Jan. 12 at Fair Grounds.

- additional reporting by Mike Welsch