10/17/2007 11:00PM

Mott has faith in Majestic Warrior

EmailELMONT, N.Y. - In the space of 96 seconds on Oct. 6, Majestic Warrior went from being one of the heaviest favorites in a Breeders' Cup race to one of the biggest questions. He had won his first two starts impressively, including a powerful victory in the Hopeful Stakes. But in the Champagne Stakes, he finished sixth of eight, beaten 14 lengths.

In the 12 days since that race, trainer Bill Mott said he looked over Majestic Warrior "from head to tail." But having found nothing amiss, Mott is pressing on in the hope that the Champagne was an unexplained aberration and that Majestic Warrior will bounce back to his previous form in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Oct. 27 at Monmouth Park.

On a mild Thursday morning at Belmont Park, Mott sent Majestic Warrior to the track for his first timed workout since the Champagne. It was a leisurely three-furlong move on the fast main track, 38.26 seconds with exercise rider Leana Willaford, but it was enough for Mott to continue planning as though a start in the Juvenile will happen.

"The nice thing is I'm not getting pressure from anyone connected to the horse to run," Mott said outside his barn. "If he's good, and I think he's good, I've got the green light. Everybody's been very supportive. If I don't want to run, I don't have to run. If he's not training well, he won't run."

Majestic Warrior switched over to his right lead early on the turn in the Champagne. On Thursday, Mott thought Majestic Warrior looked much more comfortable, even though Mott said Willaford told him that Majestic Warrior switched leads just a smidge before ideal, just outside the quarter pole.

"I just wanted to see him move. It wasn't a serious move by any means," Mott said. "He seemed to be moving well. He looked fine. I was concerned in the Champagne that he got off his left lead so early. He got off his left lead before the three-eighths pole, which is very unusual. Basic Training 101 would tell you he was uncomfortable if he's doing that. But we haven't discovered any serious issues."

Mott said that Majestic Warrior would come back with a far more serious workout on Monday morning at Belmont and that a final decision on whether to run would be made following that drill.

"He'll go a little farther, and we'll let him finish up a little bit," Mott said.

Garrett Gomez is scheduled to ride Majestic Warrior in the Juvenile.

Mott also trains Juvenile prospect Z Humor, who was third in the Champagne after finishing third in the Sapling Stakes at Monmouth. Z Humor will have his final work for the Juvenile on Monday at Belmont. Kent Desormeaux has the mount in the Juvenile.

At Saratoga on Thursday morning, Champagne winner War Pass worked a half-mile on the Oklahoma training track in 48.02 seconds for trainer Nick Zito.

Sixteen were pre-entered in the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile, but the field now has 15 candidates following the defection of Beresford. A maximum of 14 can run. At present, Overextended is on the outside looking in. But with both Old Man Buck and Texas Fever declaring a first preference for the Juvenile Turf on Oct. 26, Overextended should get in when entries are taken on Tuesday.