02/27/2009 12:00AM

Pair gets to work for Gotham


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - With inclement weather on the horizon for the weekend, the Kiaran McLaughlin stable moved up by one day key workouts for several of its horses with upcoming stakes engagements.

Among the workers on a relatively warm winter morning at Belmont Park were a pair of 3-year-olds for next Saturday's $250,000 Gotham Stakes, Mr. Fantasy and Axel Foley, the latter being a recent addition to the stable.

Mr. Fantasy, who has impressed winning two New York-bred races by a combined 19 lengths, worked four furlongs in 47.74 seconds, according to Daily Racing Form. Under exercise rider Renzo Morales, Mr. Fantasy outfinished his workmate, the 3-year-old maiden Valid Sum, by about a length and continued to gallop out five furlongs in 59.94.

"He's always worked like that, that was just typical him," said Art Magnuson, the Belmont-based assistant for McLaughlin. "Couldn't be training any better."

Mr. Fantasy has already won at the Gotham distance of 1 1/16 miles, but that was against first-level New York-bred allowance foes. This will be his first test in an open-company stakes race.

"It's going to be a whole different ballgame than the last race," Magnuson said. "There's nothing wrong with New York-breds for sure, but this will be the other side of the coin. But he's that kind, he's definitely that kind."

Just before Mr. Fantasy worked, Axel Foley worked four furlongs in 47.89 seconds, in company with the multiple stakes-winning sprinter Lucky Island, who is being pointed to Saturday's Grade 3 Toboggan Stakes. The two were head and head throughout the work and they galloped out five furlongs in 1:00.39. Richard Migliore was aboard Axel Foley, who has yet to run on dirt.

Migliore said that Axel Foley seemed to handle the dirt fine, but that it was hard to get a definitive line on him because he's not a colt with a lot of speed.

"I liked the way he galloped out," Migliore said. "He just stayed on."

If Migliore is in New York that day, he will ride Axel Foley.

Axel Foley, a son of Officer, won a maiden race at Lingfield last October before being acquired privately by Jeff Singer and trainer Doug O'Neill. Axel Foley made his North American debut in Southern California running sixth, beaten five lengths by Pioneerof the Nile in the CashCall Futurity.

At 3, Axel Foley has run twice in Northern California, finishing second to Chocolate Candy in the California Derby and fourth to that same horse in the El Camino Real Derby. Axel Foley raced in blinkers in the El Camino Real but will likely have them removed for the Gotham, McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin was sent the horse by Singer, who has taken over ownership of the colt.

A field of eight is shaping up for the Gotham. In addition to Axel Foley and Mr. Fantasy, likely starters include Haynesfield, I Want Revenge, Imperial Council, Masala, Naos, and Russell Road.

With Edgar Prado committed to ride Monba in the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap, Rajiv Maragh has picked up the mount on Imperial Council.

Shipping delay for I Want Revenge

Trainer Jeff Mullins had hoped to ship Gotham contender I Want Revenge from California to New York in time to get a breeze over Aqueduct's inner track prior to the race. However, Mullins could not line up adequate transportation, so the colt will not arrive here until Wednesday. Mullins said I Want Revenge would have his final work Sunday at Hollywood Park.

"I'm not really that worried about it," Mullins said by phone Friday from California. "Things happen for a reason, so we'll roll with it."

Actually, this may work out better for Mullins. The forecast calls for bad weather through Monday, so I Want Revenge may have had to work over an off track had he arrived here early.

I Want Revenge has 1 win from 6 starts. He was beaten a nose by Pioneerof the Nile in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity in December and finished third to that same rival in the Bob Lewis on Feb. 7.

Joey P. to return in Toboggan

Joey P., the multiple stakes-winning New Jersey-bred gelding, is expected to make his 7-year-old debut in Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Toboggan Stakes. On Friday, he worked five furlongs in 1:01.02 over Belmont's training track.

"He finished real well, he's just an old professional horse," trainer Ben Perkins Jr. said. "He was just cruising down the lane. He went his final quarter in 24 [seconds] or a tick under. We're happy with him."

Joey P. has not raced since losing by a neck in the Icecapade Stakes on Sept. 1 at Monmouth Park. In his only start over the inner track, JoeyoP. was beaten three-quarters of a length in the 2007 Gravesend Handicap.

Others pointing to the Toboggan include Ah Day, Driven by Success, Grand Champion, Lucky Island, Place Your Bet, and West Coast Flier. Possible starters include Eternal Star, Malibu Kid, and Port Royal.

Awesome Ashley wins Feel the Beat

Awesome Ashley took advantage of a three-ply speed duel that included her stablemate, Distorted Passion, to record a 1 1/2-length victory in Friday's $66,150 Feel the Beat Stakes. Distorted Passion finished second, 5o1/2 lengths ahead of Awesome Chic.

Intentional Fever and A Rose for You, the 4-5 favorite, completed the order of finish.

Intentional Fever took the lead but was soon tackled by Distorted Passion and A Rose for You. The trio went a half-mile in 45.21 seconds.

Anna Napravnik kept Awesome Ashley just off the pace while on the inside before tipping off the rail in upper stretch. She collared Distorted Passion at the sixteenth pole and drew off for the victory. Awesome Ashley, owned by Alex Campbell and trained by Todd Pletcher, covered the six furlongs in 1:10.64 and returned $9.80.

* Seattle Smooth, the Fitz Dixon Cotillion winner, worked four furlongs in 48.81 seconds over Aqueduct's inner track Friday. It was the fastest of 10 moves at the distance, and Seattle Smooth's second workout since last fall.

Trainer Tony Dutrow has previously said Seattle Smooth would be ready to run in April, perhaps in a spot like the Grade 2 Bed o' Roses Handicap on April 18.