03/12/2010 12:00AM

Mighty Morris on the rise


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Mighty Morris, a pace-setting winner in his last two races, will likely get his first stakes experience Saturday in the $65,000 Kings Point Stakes for New York-breds at Aqueduct.

A 5-year-old gelding trained by Tom Bush, Mighty Morris finally put it all together this winter, marching through his first- and second -level statebred allowance conditions.

Now comes the big test against seasoned New York-breds in the Kings Point. In addition to Mighty Morris, stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes expects Almighty Silver, Icabad Crane, Manteca, Naughty New Yorker, Rodeo Hand, and See More Spirit for the Kings Point at 1 1/8 miles.

"We're pretty excited about him," Bush said. "He's done well. This will be another big step up for him, but you don't see too many New York-breds go from the a-other-than to the two-other-than in back-to-back races. That's tough to do. We hope he's got a future."

Bush has had Mighty Morris for his last three starts, a stretch that started with a neck loss prior to the consecutive wins.

"John Kimmel had gotten him ready off a long layoff and gave him one sprint race in which he ran very creditably," Bush said. "I was lucky to get the horse in excellent condition. When we stretched the horse out and got him up close to the pace, it seemed to turn him around. He's a big, physical horse with a lot of size and scope. He's probably a late maturer, too. He's just finally coming to hand."

Stud Muffin moves to Bush's barn

Bush nominated four horses to the Kings Point, including a new member of the barn -Stud Muffin, no stranger to New York-bred stakes success.

Bush does not plan to run him in the Kings Point, preferring to wait until the summer or fall before getting the 6-year-old Stud Muffin back on track.

He has earned $462,907, with the victory in the 2008 Empire Classic Handicap his career highlight. He went more than a year before winning another race, a statebred starter allowance at Aqueduct in January.

Bush said that owner Louis Zito decided a fresh setting might help.

"I had trained for that owner before and he made a change," Bush said. "The colt just needs more time before we get him back."

Bush will back off, giving Stud Muffin time to regroup.

"Hopefully, he'll come back to have a good summer and fall," Bush said. "He's a big, strong boy who we hope can do something down the road. There will be plenty of races for him in the summer. He's had some big races, and hopefully he has a few more in him."

Shine Upon a good loaner for Hushion

Shine Upon, a dominant winner against New York-breds in her first two races, passed an important test Thursday in the $60,000 Dreamy Mimi Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Facing open company for the first time while making her stakes debut, Shine Upon showed determination to eke out a nose win. Shine Upon came into the mile and 70-yard race off two six-furlong sprints.

"Going into an open stakes and going the first time around two turns, there were a lot of questions," said trainer Mike Hushion. "She sure handled it nicely."

It was her second start for Hushion, who got the filly when Jimmy Jerkens headed to Florida for the winter. She was a welcome addition who will likely make her next start for Jerkens after he returns.

"Jimmy made her what she is," Hushion said. "It's nice to have house guests like that who are big tippers."

Meanwhile, Hushion is still shopping for a spot for Rereadthefootnotes, winner of the Hollie Hughes Stakes here on Feb. 15.

Lopez taken for X-rays after spill

Chuckie Lopez, third in the Aqueduct standings, was taken to a local hospital for precautionary X-rays after being dumped during the stretch run of the eighth race.

Lopez, aboard 1-2 favorite Magic Tiger, tried to make a rail move to the inside of Barnie's Bullet and jockey Gabriel Saez. Barnie's Bullet came in slightly, forcing Magic Tiger to check sharply. Lopez lost his balance, falling heavily to the muddy track. He remained down for several moments before getting up under his own power to walk to the ambulance. Magic Tiger ran off, and was eventually caught by an outrider.

Barnie's Bullet finished third but was disqualified to last by the stewards for interference.