04/19/2009 11:00PM

More surgery for Biker Boy


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The talented but injury-prone Biker Boy underwent surgery on Monday to remove a small chip in his ankle sustained during a training incident at Churchill Downs on Saturday.

According to trainer Nick Zito, Biker Boy had just exited the racetrack and was on the pavement leading back to the barn when he suddenly reared up and jumped away from the pony that was accompanying him.

"He never showed any signs of lameness but his ankle filled up, we took an X-ray, and discovered a small chip," Zito said in his Churchill Downs tack room late Monday morning. "Dr. [Larry] Bramlage is operating on him as we speak."

Biker Boy had undergone surgery to remove a chip that forced him to miss the majority of his 3-year-old season. Biker Boy, a son of Came Home, first went to the sidelines following an impressive second-level allowance win on last year's Kentucky Derby undercard. He returned this past winter to register a pair of one-sided allowance victories at Gulfstream Park before finishing fourth following a somewhat eventful trip in the Grade 1 Carter on April 4.

"These types of things can be quick to heal, although we won't rush him back," said Zito. "We're probably looking at a fall and winter campaign, although with a little luck, perhaps he could make a race at the end of the Saratoga meet."

Zito also reported that Commentator has returned to his barn at Churchill Downs none the worse for wear following his fourth-place finish Saturday night in the Charles Town Classic. The outing was Commentator's first appearance since his third-place finish in the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs in late November.

"We were never able to get a race into him before leaving Gulfstream and he just got tired the other night," said Zito. "But he came back to the barn kicking and squealing and that's the most important thing. It's all about his welfare."

Zito said his major goal for Commentator this year remains a quest to win Saratoga's Grade 1 Whitney Handicap for the third time.

"We'll look to get a race or two into him before the Whitney," said Zito. "I'm not sure when or where yet but I wouldn't rule out the Metropolitan. After all, he's still Commentator."

Zito said Commentator would remain at Churchill for a short period before shipping to Saratoga for the summer.

Just Jenda will go in Eight Belles

Trainer Larry Jones opted to pass the Kentucky Oaks with his graded-stakes-winning 3-year-old filly Just Jenda to await a more suitable spot, the inaugural running of the Eight Belles Stakes on Derby Day at Churchill.

Just Jenda tuned up for the assignment by working a half-mile in 46.58 seconds and galloping out five-eighths in 58.60 under jockey Gabriel Saez at Keeneland on Sunday.

Just Jenda is coming off a third-place finish behind Oaks favorite Rachel Alexandra in Oaklawn Park's Grade 2 Fantasy.

"I worked here at Keeneland to see if she could handle the Poly to see if we should consider her a Breeders' Cup-type horse," said Jones. "If I knew she'd have handled it this well I'd have brought her here for the Ashland rather than run her in the Fantasy. She'll skip the Oaks and go in the Eight Belles. Obviously, I'd really love to win that race."

Jones trained Eight Belles, who broke down after finishing second in last year's Derby.

Just a Game next up for Diamondrella

Making your first start since October was very much a formula for success Saturday at Keeneland.

Diamondrella, risking a four-race win streak when making her first start since Oct. 12, came through with her fifth straight with a sensational rally in the $100,000 Giant's Causeway.

Trainer Angel Penna Jr. said the 5-year-old Diamondrella likely would make her next start in the Grade 1 Just a Game Handicap on the June 6 Belmont Stakes undercard.

Ready's Image also rallied from well back to win an entry-level allowance Saturday in his first start since Oct. 4. The Todd Pletcher-trained Ready's Image dead-heated for third in the Belmont Stakes last year.

Born to Be also was ready to roll Saturday as she led all the way in a second-level allowance, her first race since Oct. 19. A 4-year-old A.P. Indy filly, Born to Be is trained by Eric Coatrieux.

Leparoux far in front for leading rider

Julien Leparoux has been nothing short of phenomenal this spring at Keeneland, where he will capture his fourth title when the meet ends Friday. Leparoux rode four more winners Sunday, giving him 24 wins heading into the final three-day stretch.

Through Sunday, Leparoux is winning at a 29 percent clip, easily best among the top 10 jockeys. Leparoux, 25, shared the 2006 spring riding title with Rafael Bejarano, then was the outright leader at the 2006 fall and 2007 spring meets.

Dress Rehearsal headlines Bewitch

Dress Rehearsal, a 2 3/4-length winner of the Grade 3 Orchid Handicap at Gulfstream last out, heads a field of eight fillies and mares entered for the $150,000 Bewitch Stakes on Thursday at Keeneland. Kent Desormeaux has retained the mount for trainer Bill Mott.

Also entered were Winter View, Russian Rosie, Favorite Fantasy, Empiress, Caprice, Absolutely Cindy, and Communique.

Near-record crowd at Keeneland

The 33,680 that crammed into Keeneland on a terrific weather day Saturday was the second 30,000-plus crowd of the meet, following the 30,550 that turned out April 4 for the Ashland Stakes. It was just the second time in track history, following the 2005 spring meet, that attendance has exceeded 30,000 twice at a meet.

The Saturday attendance was second-highest in track history, following the 33,821 that shoehorned in two years ago on Lexington Day.

Silver City heads Derby Trial probables

Silver City looks like the biggest name for the $100,000 Derby Trial, the Grade 3 race that opens the Churchill meet Saturday. Trained by Bret Calhoun, Silver City was under consideration for the Derby until he faded badly in the March 14 Rebel Stakes.

Besides Silver City, at least five other 3-year-olds are likely for the 7 1/2-furlong Derby Trial: Checklist, Hamazing Destiny, Hull, Rendezvous, and Santana Six.

- additional reporting by Marty McGee