07/07/2008 12:00AM

Meal Penalty out of American Derby


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - There was no Triple Crown winner in 2008, and there will be no Mid-America Triple winner this season either - not that the latter accomplishment means anything like the former. Arlington's Mid-America Triple for 3-year-old grass horses hasn't been taken down since Honor Glide won all three races in 1997, and since the Arlington Classic winner Meal Penalty will skip the American Derby on Saturday, no one will be sweeping this year, either.

Meal Penalty worked five furlongs in 1:02.60 here Saturday morning, but is not ready for the American Derby, trainer Todd Pletcher said Monday from New York.

"We just missed a little time with a leg infection about three weeks ago," Pletcher said. "It kind of put us on a tight schedule for two works, and it didn't go that great."

Pletcher said Meal Penalty would be shipped to New York and target the Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga.

Also apparently passing on the American Derby is Gio Ponti, the high-class New York-based 3-year-old who instead is likely to wind up in the Virginia Derby at Colonial on July 19.

Those two defections should leave Tizdejavu, impressive winner of both his grass starts, as a solid choice here on Saturday.

Dreaming of Anna rated highly

For Wayne Catalano, the weights in the two handicap races here Saturday make him feel like he has another Curlin on his hands. Curlin was weighted at 124 pounds for Saturday's Arlington Handicap - a race he is expected to bypass in favor of the weight-for-age Man o' War at Belmont - the same weight assigned Dreaming of Anna for the Modesty Handicap.

"She's that good, I guess," Catalano joked Monday morning.

Dreaming of Anna had her first work Saturday since capturing the June 14 Mint Julep Stakes at Churchill, blazing five furlongs on Polytrack in 58.60 seconds. But while Catalano said Dreaming of Anna was fit to start Saturday if her connections desired, he hinted that Dreaming of Anna will stick to the original plan, and train up to the Beverly D. here next month.

"We're eligible to enter if it comes up a three- or four-horse field or something," Catalano said.

But a short field does not appear likely for the Modesty, which should be headed by Forever Together, the promising Jonathan Sheppard-trained filly.

Harty aiming at Spa's juvenile stakes

Eoin Harty said Monday that Desert Party, among the sharpest 2-year-old winners so far this summer at Arlington, was headed to Saratoga for a start in the July 24 Sanford Stakes.

"He'd go on to the Hopeful if he's good enough," Harty said. "Hopefully he's good enough."

Desert Party, a Street Cry colt, fetched a sale-topping bid of $2.1 million at a Florida 2-year-old in training sale this winter, and he lived up to his promise in his June 22 career debut, drawing off to a 3 3/4-length win in a 4 1/2-furlong race that figures to be well short of his best distance. Desert Party returned to Harty's string at Keeneland and worked a half-mile on July 2.

"He's doing great," Harty said.

Sunday, another Harty-trained pricey 2-year-old won his career debut at Arlington, this one named Coronet of a Baron. A $550,000 2-year-old in-training purchase, Coronet of a Baron won a five-furlong maiden race by 2 3/4 lengths, breaking - like Desert Party - from a difficult wide post. Harty said Coronet of a Baron probably would be sent to California for a start at the Del Mar meet.

Turf goals for My Dominick James

My Dominick James is 2 for 2 after a win Saturday night in the Prairie Gold Juvenile Stakes, and he has trainer and co-owner Larry Rivelli thinking Breeders' Cup.

My Dominick James turned in the fastest 2-year-old race of the Arlington season on June 8, winning his career debut by almost three lengths. Saturday, he tried dirt for the first time, raced under lights, and stepped up in class, but still won by a measured two lengths under Tim Thornton.

My Dominick James, also co-bred by Rivelli, is by Dance Master and out of mare named Smiling Mindy, whose son Nereus has proven a decent horse on grass. And grass is where Rivelli is thinking My Dominick James's future might lie.

"My ultimate goal is the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf," Rivelli said.

Rivelli said My Dominick James could get a turf run in the July 26 Chenery Stakes at Colonial Downs, after which he could be stretched to a one-turn mile here in the Arlington-Washington Futurity.

Silverfoot's luck changes

There was talk of retiring Silverfoot after he lost six starts following a 1 1/2-year layoff.

"I said let's give him another chance," trainer Dallas Stewart said. "He was training too good."

Silverfoot, 8, rewarded Stewart's confidence on Friday, capturing the Stars and Stripes Handicap by two lengths, his first victory in more than two years.

Stewart felt Silverfoot was losing not because he'd lost the ability or desire to compete in stakes races, but because of poor racing luck.

"Look at the last three or four races he ran in," said Stewart. "He had no pace to run at. He just had been unlucky in my estimation."

Stewart said the Arlington Million was one of several possible options for Silverfoot's next start.

"Obviously wherever he runs it's got to be a mile and a quarter or a mile and a half," he said.