03/10/2007 1:00AM

Minister's Bid schooling for return


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Minister's Bid, who spent a good part of last summer at Saratoga chasing Bernardini in the Jim Dandy and Travers, is getting closer to returning to action after working five furlongs in 59.80 seconds here on Saturday.

Minister's Bid, a son of Deputy Minister owned by John Oxley and trained by John Ward, was an easy winner of his first two starts before finishing a distant second behind Bernardini in the Grade 2 Dwyer. He then lost all chance following trouble at the starting gate in the Travers.

"He rammed himself in the gate, and it kind of stoved him up after the race," Ward recalled as training hours came to a close on Saturday. "Then he popped a quarter crack after that. He's been doing well here this winter, but he's still got some schooling to do at the gate, so I'm not sure if he's going to make a race here or if we'll just wait for Keeneland."

Minister's Bid is eligible for a second-level allowance condition.

Ward said he already has a contingent of 2-year-olds in training at Keeneland with Don Combs, whose training resume includes winning the 1970 Kentucky Derby with Dust Commander.

"Don doesn't work for me, he works with me," Ward said. "I would never call a horseman of his stature an assistant. We've got to be the only stable in the country that has two Kentucky Derby-winning trainers in the barn."

Ward won the 2001 Derby with Monarchos.

Gorham confident in Adore the Gold

Trainer Mike Gorham reported that Adore the Gold, who finished fourth after disputing the pace in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, came out of the race well and has been back to the track galloping the last several days. His next objective will be the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 31.

"I was very pleased with his performance in the Fountain of Youth, although obviously disappointed we had to settle for fourth money after an effort like that," said Gorham. "But getting a race under him like that at a mile and one eighth should set him up nicely for the next one."

Street Magician headed for Aventura

Street Magician, an impressive maiden winner in his last start, zipped six furlongs in 1:10.80 here Saturday and is being pointed for the seven-furlong Aventura Stakes on March 31 by trainer Michael Trombetta.

If Street Magician runs in the Aventura, it could set up a rematch with the undefeated Blue Bullet, who beat Street Magician when the pair hooked up for their career debuts here on Jan. 27.

* Autobahn Girl worked four furlongs in 48.40 seconds at Palm Meadows on Saturday in preparation for her scheduled start this coming Saturday in the $200,000 Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs. Autobahn Girl overcame a rough trip to win Tampa's Suncoast Stakes on Feb. 17.

* Cuaba, who earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 95 winning a first-level allowance on Feb. 2, should be a slight favorite over five other fillies and mares when she steps up to the next level in Monday's $48,000 allowance feature. Her chief competition figures to come from Travel Plans and Endless Virtue.

* After two frustrating losses to begin his career, Fearless Vision finally won his maiden, stretching to a mile for an impressive victory as the favorite in Saturday's fourth race. Fearless Vision, a son of Vision and Verse trained by Patrick Reynolds, finished between Blue Bullet and Street Magician in his debut, missing by a length, then was outgamed by Corinthian's baby brother Vitruvius going seven furlongs on Feb. 17.