09/17/2009 11:00PM

Midshipman wins in return, dirt debut

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Midshipman, with Richard Migliore up, wins his first start as a

ELMONT, N.Y. - Midshipman, last year's champion juvenile colt, made a triumphant return to the races - and successful debut on regular dirt - winning a at Belmont Park by 3 1/4 lengths over the speedy Just Ben.

In his first start since winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Oct. 25 over Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface, Midshipman won despite drifting out significantly in the stretch under Richard Migliore.

Migliore said Midshipman felt fine physically and that his belief on why Midshipman drifted out so much was "he took that horse so easily at the head of the lane that he just kind of got to wandering," he said. "I can't pinpoint why he would do that other than that, because soundness-wise he couldn't have been better."

Midshipman broke a half-step slow but quickly recovered and raced just off the flank of Just Ben through a quarter in 22.46 seconds. He was within a head of that rival through a half-mile in 44.72. Straightening away down the lane, Midshipman began to drift but he continued to run on as he pulled away from Just Ben. Midshipman, owned by Godolphin Stable, covered the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.83 and returned $5.70 as the third choice in the five-horse field. Storm Play, the 7-5 favorite, finished fourth, beaten 11 lengths.

Migliore said Midshipman - who made all four of his prior starts on synthetics - handled the dirt "sensational."

"As good as he was on synthetics, who knows, maybe he's even better on conventional dirt," Migliore said. "He certainly was very fresh. He was very sharp, he went to the gate very, very tough, really strong. He broke a half-step slow then had his feet under him that instantly. For a big horse, he was like a cat. All the way down the backside I was like 'Whoa papa, whoa papa, whoa papa.' He didn't want to be behind that horse as long as he was."

Midshipman missed three months of training earlier this year after he suffered a soft tissue injury in his left foreleg while training in Dubai. Rick Mettee, the assistant trainer who oversees Godolphin's New York string, admitted there was a sense of relief getting the horse back to the winner's circle.

"It's just good to get him back; they don't always come back from those soft tissue problems," Mettee said. "It worked out well getting him on a fast dirt track. One-fifteen-and-change off a layoff is a pretty good time. Obviously, he handled the dirt pretty well. I don't know what to make of him drifting out like that down the lane."

Mettee said he did not know what would be next for Midshipman.

Any Limit works for Gallant Bloom

Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens will find himself in an all-too-familiar position next Saturday when he sends out Any Limit against two-time champion Indian Blessing in the Grade 2, $150,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap for fillies and mares at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Any Limit, away from the races since May due to a reoccurring hock injury, worked four furlongs in 48.02 seconds Friday morning over Belmont's main track. Jerkens said Any Limit's training session was supposed to be more like an open gallop, yet the final time was the second fastest of 18 recorded works at the distance.

"She's going to have one more good work next week," Jerkens said.

Jerkens said he wasn't anticipating the Gallant Bloom field coming up as strong as it is. Others under consideration to run include Sara Louise, impressive winner of the Grade 3 Victory Ride; P.S.U. Grad, and Thunders Dove, winner of five consecutive races for trainer Nick Zito. The Gallant Bloom is a Win and You're In race for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

"It's coming up tougher than I thought," Jerkens said. "I thought with all those other races, it wouldn't come up so tough."

Jardin finds the winner's circle

Jardin, winner of last year's Grade 2 Schuylerville at Saratoga, may be headed back to stakes company after winning a second-level allowance Thursday by 4 1/2 lengths. She was making just her second start of her 3-year-old season and bounced back from a fourth-place finish in a similar spot at Saratoga on Aug. 23.

"She was very impressive yesterday," trainer Tom Albertrani said Friday. "I like how she came back off her first race back; definitely wanted to see a performance like that. We'll see if we can put her in against straight 3-year-olds before the end of the season."

Albertrani added that Gozzip Girl, who finished a troubled fourth in the Grade 1 Garden City last week, came out of the race unscathed despite stumbling entering the clubhouse turn. Albertrani said that Gozzip Girl, winner of the Grade 1 American Oaks at Hollywood Park in July, would be pointed to the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth at Keeneland on Oct. 17.

"Everyone involved was more upset than she was," Albertrani said. "Luckily, no one got hurt and she was able to stay on her feet and come out of the race good. We're definitely looking forward to going to the Queen Elizabeth right now."

Meanwhile, Albertrani said that Raw Silk, winner of last year's Grade 2 Sands Point Stakes, has been retired by Darley Stable. Raw Silk also won the South Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Overall, she had a record of 3-1-3 from 12 starts and earned $201,959.

* Tim Ice, the trainer of Belmont and Travers winner Summer Bird, and his wife Heather, welcomed their first child, Carson James, into the world Tuesday. The baby boy was eight pounds, according to Ice who said wife and baby were doing well in Louisiana. Ice is back in New York where he will continue to prepare Summer Bird for a start in the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup here on Oct. 3.