04/19/2010 12:00AM

Musket Man paying another visit to Churchill


OLDSMAR, Fla. - Trainer Derek Ryan and Musket Man will be heading up the road to Louisville for the second straight spring to race on the first Saturday in May. Last year Musket Man finished third in the Kentucky Derby. This year he will be racing on the Derby Day program in the Grade 2, $250,000 Churchill Downs Handicap going seven furlongs.

Musket Man, who won the Tampa Bay Derby and finished third in the Preakness Stakes last year, lost a heartbreaker in his last start. He gained the lead from between horses in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct, only to be run down in the final strides by Warrior's Reward and fall a nose short.

"That was really a disappointing loss because he's got the talent and heart to be a Grade 1 winner," Ryan said. "When he split horses and got to the front we thought we had it."

Ryan also trains Schoolyard Dreams, runner up by a nose to Odysseus in this year's Tampa Bay Derby, and the trainer said he's mulling over the options for his talented colt.

"We're looking at a couple of spots, including the Preakness," Ryan said. "We'll have to see how things shake out after the Derby for the 3-year-olds. There's also the three big races at Monmouth - the Red Bank, Haskell, and Pegasus. The way they're set up, three weeks apart, it may well be the smart thing to run in the first and third of those races with six weeks between, but we'll see how things work out."

The Ryan-trained C C's Pal, second here in the Grade 3 Florida Oaks, is a possibility for the Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico, he said.

Montalvo gets hot

Carlos Montalvo, who had been having a subpar meeting by his standards, came to life last week, winning a pair of races on Friday, adding another on Saturday, and taking another Sunday to bring his total for the meeting to 25. Montalvo won 53 races last season at Tampa and 51 the year previous.

Ladies giving Bennett a lift

Trainer Gerald Bennett seems to have found that a woman's touch transmits to success with his runners of late. The last three Bennett trainees to win a race have been ridden by female jockeys.

Kristeen McManigall piloted Arts and Leisure to a win on April 11, then came back to win on Pristeen Queen on Sunday for Bennett. Lucie Herkova booted home Oh So Shiney on for Bennett on Saturday.