08/27/2006 11:00PM

Papi Chullo to ship for Woodward

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Adam Coglianese / NYRA
Henny Hughes, running away with the King's Bishop on Saturday, will take on older horses in the Vosburgh.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Papi Chullo's North American tour heads East this week as the well-traveled 4-year-old is set to arrive in Saratoga on Wednesday to run in Saturday's Grade 1, $500,000 Woodward Stakes.

The Woodward will be Papi Chullo's second race in less than two weeks as he comes out of a second-place finish in the Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs in Auburn, Wash. Earlier this year, Papi Chullo finished third in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar following a second-level allowance win at Hollywood Park on July 2.

"It was part of the plan from the very beginning," Greg Norman, Papi Chullo's owner, said Sunday from California, where his horses are based with trainer J. Buenaventura Vargas. "We were either going to run as our first option in the Pacific Classic, or if we didn't run in the Pacific Classic we'd run in that last race and wheel back in the Woodward."

Norman said he decided to skip the Pacific Classic because he felt the combination of Lava Man, Magnum, and Perfect Drift was too tough.

In the Longacres Mile, Norman felt Papi Chullo was compromised by his post position draw, which saw him break from post 10 in the 11-horse field. He was beaten a neck by Flamethrowintexan, who went gate to wire.

"Our post position pretty much sealed our fate," Norman said. "It's a very, very short run going into the first turn. Needless to say we were four or five wide going into the backside.

"We wanted to hook that horse at the three-eighths pole and extend that race," he said. "We weren't able to hook him until the quarter pole and came up a neck short. Besides winning the race, we couldn't have been more pleased."

Papi Chullo was initially scheduled to fly here on Tuesday. However, due to the commercial airline crash at the airport in Lexington, Ky., the horse transport company Tex Sutton has had to delay its flight schedule by a day.

Norman said he has Eibar Coa lined up to ride Papi Chullo.

A large field is shaping up for the Woodward, including Andromeda's Hero, Flower Alley, Funny Cide, Papi Chullo, Premium Tap, Second of June, Suave, Sun King, Wanderin Boy, and Wild Desert. Trainer Nick Zito has named apprentice Julien Leparoux to replace Rafael Bejarano aboard Sun King.

The Daddy also coming East

Accompanying Papi Chullo from Southern California will be The Daddy, the New York-bred who won the Grade 2 Super Derby last September. The Daddy suffered a fractured splint bone in that race and has not raced since.

Norman said The Daddy was on the comeback trail in March when there was another issue with the splint bone, so he was given more time off. The Daddy has been galloping regularly and will likely have his first breeze on Friday at Saratoga.

Norman said he is pointing The Daddy to one of two races at Belmont Park on New York Showcase Day, Oct. 21. The Daddy could run in the $250,000 Empire Classic at 1 1/8 miles or the $125,000 Hudson Handicap at six furlongs.

"If he's super fit, we'll go in the Empire Classic," Norman said. "If he's ready to run but not up to a mile and an eighth, then we'll go in the Hudson."

Vosburgh next for Henny Hughes

Like Travers winner Bernardini, King's Bishop winner Henny Hughes will take on older horses next when he runs in the Grade 1, $400,000 Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont Park on Oct. 7.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Henny Hughes continues to amaze him as he dueled through a half-mile in 44.62 seconds and appeared to be just in a gallop. He took command leaving the three-eighths pole and drew off to a handy 5 1/4-length victory, running seven furlongs in 1:21.96.

"To go in 44-and-change the way he was sitting on him was very impressive to me," McLaughlin said. "It looked like a half in 47 and then he just went on [and] drew off. He's just an awesome horse. It's the way he did it, forget about the time."

In the Vosburgh, Henny Hughes will likely take on defending Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Silver Train, whose successes at Belmont Park include wins in the Metropolitan Handicap, Tom Fool, and BC Sprint.

"Silver Train is going to run into Henny Hughes," McLaughlin said with a laugh. "Obviously, running against older horses, you have to respect that horse at that track, for sure, and that outfit, but you have to run against them. But we're not ducking anybody or worrying about anybody."

Pletcher runners work toward stakes

About three hours after learning that his top 3-year-old, Bluegrass Cat, would have to be retired due to a hind ankle fracture, trainer Todd Pletcher had to go about the business of working several runners for stakes races this weekend at Saratoga.

Following the renovation break, Pletcher sent out three teams for in-company works. Flower Alley, who is being pointed to Saturday's Woodward, worked five furlongs in 1:00.41 in company with Pool Land. He got his last quarter in 24.55 seconds.

"I thought we got what we were looking for," Pletcher said. "Company put him up on the bridle nicely and he finished up real well and galloped out strongly."

Friendly Island and West Virginia also went in company, each being given a time of 1:02.04 for five furlongs. Friendly Island finished a length in front of West Virginia, however, and galloped out strongly. Friendly Island is being considered for Saturday's Grade 1 Forego, while West Virginia, recently sold to Sheikh Rashid al-Maktoum, is likely headed for the General Douglas MacArthur Handicap at Belmont on Sept. 8.

Cotton Blossom, the Schuylerville winner, worked five furlongs in 1:01.05 in company with the 2-year-old maiden Cowtown Cat. Cotton Blossom is being pointed to next Sunday's Grade 1 Spinaway.

Desormeaux in car accident

Kent Desormeaux took off all of his mounts on Sunday after he was involved in an automobile accident late Saturday night. According to Desormeaux, he was a passenger in a car, driven by a friend, that struck a tree.

Desormeaux, who said he was simply body sore, spent all night at Saratoga Hospital, where his friend was being treated for injuries. Desormeaux said he and his friend left the hospital around 6:30 a.m. Sunday.

"I'm just exhausted," Desormeaux said. "I would have been of no use to anyone."

Desormeaux said he just felt a "whiplash effect from making a quick stop from the crash."

He returned to action on Monday.

- additional reporting by Mike Kane