01/12/2006 1:00AM

McGaughey gets Good Reward primed for return


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Hall of Fame trainers Allen Jerkens and Shug McGaughey relaxed and chatted near the end of training hours on a beautiful morning at Gulfstream Park on Thursday, the bulk of their day's work already completed.

McGaughey was all business earlier, however, while watching his Grade 1 winner Good Reward work a half-mile in 47.20 seconds over the fast track. The work was the second-fastest of 18 at the distance for the day and was the fifth drill for Good Reward, the winner of last year's Grade 1 Manhattan, since his arrival here last month.

Good Reward has not started since finishing sixth over a sloppy track in the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup on Sept. 24.

"He didn't handle the bad track at Hawthorne and I just decided to give him some time off after that," McGaughey said after concluding his conversation with Jerkens. "He worked well this morning, and right now I'm pointing him for the race on Feb. 25."

McGaughey was referring to the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap, a race he won in 1994 with Strolling Along.

McGaughey's other Grade 1 winner, Eclipse Award candidate Smuggler, is just about ready to start back breezing and could make a start here before returning to New York in the spring, he said.

"She's been galloping every day and she's not far from working," said McGaughey. "Once she comes to hand she'll come to hand quickly, and I hope to get a race into her before we leave, although it probably won't be the Rampart. That race comes up a little too quick, and I wouldn't want to get that ambitious with her right off the bat."

Smuggler won 3 of 4 starts as a 3-year-old, including the Grade 1 Mother Goose and Coaching Club American Oaks. She was sidelined during the last half of the year after she contracted a fever that kept her out of the Alabama, then suffered an intestinal impaction in late October.

McGaughey, who will send out La Reina as one of the favorites in Saturday's $75,000 Marshua's River Stakes, remained at a loss to explain Philanthropist's disappointing performance in last Saturday's Hal's Hope Handicap. Philanthropist finished a tiring seventh, nearly 15 lengths behind the winning On Thin Ice, as the 8-5 favorite in the Grade 3 race.

"He came out of the race fine, and perhaps he bounced coming off his game effort in the Queens County," said McGaughey. "I was between a rock and a hard place when deciding whether to run him in the Hal's Hope. I saw him getting better every day, and I didn't want to train him into the Donn Handicap, but in retrospect I probably shouldn't have run him."

McGaughey said he's now uncertain whether he'll wheel back Philanthropist in the Grade 1 Donn on Feb. 4 off his poor showing in the Hal's Hope or wait for the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap the following month.

She Says It Best is retired to breeding shed

She Says It Best, a winner of 4 of 8 starts at 2, including the Grade 2 Alcibiades, has been retired and will be bred later this year, according to her trainer, Vickie Foley.

She Says It Best, who finished a tiring ninth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, worked six furlongs here in 1:12.60 seconds on Wednesday, but came back with "some physical issues," according to Foley. She Says It Best had been pointing to the $250,000 Ocala Stud Stakes on Sunshine Millions Day.

Jockey Potts close to return from back injury

Jockey Clinton Potts, who wintered at Gulfstream Park for the first time in 2005, is expected to return to the races before the end of the month. Potts is back galloping and working horses here in the morning after recovering from a fractured back that he suffered last summer at Delaware Park.

Potts rode with success here last winter, the majority of his victories coming for trainers Gary Johnson and John Zimmerman.

* Blacksmith James Brummit, who had been seriously ill, died on Wednesday. Funeral arrangements are pending at Fred Hunter's Funeral Home in Hollywood. Brummit worked for many prominent trainers, including McGaughey, Bill Mott, and Christophe Clement.

* Monarch Lane set a one-mile track record of 1:34.02 winning Thursday's ninth race. The time eclipsed the old mark of 1:34.25 set by Nakayama Kun last April.

Monarch Lane, who is trained by Todd Pletcher, was making his first start since his second-place finish in the Grade 2 Illinois Derby on April 9.