01/24/2003 12:00AM

Perfect Wave born to run farther


NEW ORLEANS - Dallas Stewart spent plenty of time around Overbrook Farm homebreds during his time as an assistant to trainer Wayne Lukas. Now Stewart is getting to train his own.

Overbrook sent Stewart a string of 2-year-olds for the first time last season, and at least one of them is pretty good. Perfect Wave has won her first two starts with ease, and on Sunday she gets her first real test in the $100,000 Tiffany Lass. Perfect Wave is part of a high-quality field and races around two turns for the first time - but that doesn't mean she's not ready.

By Boston Harbor, an Overbrook racehorse himself, Perfect Wave has shown a high turn of early speed in her races, even though she's not put together like a sprinter. "She's a big, strong filly," Stewart said. "She's got range written all over her. She might be as big as Unbridled Elaine a little later this year."

Unbridled Elaine, who won the Breeders' Cup Distaff in 2001, was an amazon even at age 2, and walking around Stewart's shed row on Friday morning with a rider on her back, Perfect Wave displayed the same sort of scope. Stewart clearly is excited about her chances, and thinks she has a great chance to settle and finish in two-turn races.

"We'll find out more about her Sunday," he said. "The way she trains, she's smart. The signs point to her stretching out. She'll do anything you want, and those are the kind that give you hope."

Risen Star next for Badge of Silver

Trainer Ronny Werner was to saddle the graded stakes winner Most Feared here Saturday in the Grade 3 Lecomte, but Most Feared doesn't have anything on another Werner runner, Badge of Silver, who looked awesome winning a sprint allowance race by seven lengths here Thursday.

Even before Badge of Silver's comeback start, Werner was talking about a start Feb. 16 in the Grade 3 Risen Star at 1 1/16 miles. What Werner saw Thursday did nothing to discourage him.

"Yeah, it's crowding things a bit, but we've got to go ahead and see how he takes things," Werner said. "A good horse is a good horse, and class usually prevails."

Badge of Silver hadn't raced since his career debut on April 12, when he won a 4 1/2-furlong maiden race at Keeneland by nine lengths, but he showed no signs of rust. Under a rating hold from jockey Robby Albarado, Badge of Silver made the early lead while setting fast fractions, 22.16 seconds for a quarter-mile and 45.64 for a half. He turned for home with his ears pricked and leapt to a big lead when Albarado let him run, easily drawing away from the solid colt Broke Again. Badge of Silver ran six furlongs over a somewhat dull racing strip in 1:09.70 - racehorse time.

"He's why we come out in the morning, looking for this kind," said Werner, who trains Badge of Silver for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey. "He galloped out a strong seven-eighths. He was blowing a little bit, but he came back good and was ice cold [Friday] morning."

Badge of Silver fractured his right front cannon bone in his Keeneland race, an injury that required surgery to insert stabilizing screws. The screws eventually were removed and with rest, Werner said, Badge of Silver made a full recovery.

Though Badge of Silver has only won sprints, Werner believes the colt will stretch out to two turns. Badge of Silver is by Silver Deputy and out of a mare by Silver Hawk, which lends stamina to his pedigree.

Even the Score back off long layoff

Even the Score, third at 74-1 in last year's Explosive Bid Handicap, makes his first start since July in Sunday's seventh race. Even the Score hasn't raced since he went off form in mid-summer, his body tired after a long period of racing without a break.

"He'd had a long year, and he was just acting like a horse that needed a breather," said his trainer, Dallas Stewart.

Even the Score, a turf horse, could have had a great winter last year with a little better luck and a little more oomph. At Fair Grounds he was beaten about a length in the Woodchopper and Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup handicaps, and just more than two lengths by Sarafan and Beat Hollow in the $750,000 Explosive Bid. At Sam Houston, Even the Score lost by a nose in the Connally Breeders' Cup.

Even the Score has turned in a string of impressive dirt workouts here for his comeback, and Stewart said Even the Score "has been training great. He does like it here."

A good showing Sunday will put Even the Score back in stakes racing in his next start.

Even the Score faces six rivals, the best of whom are Astrologist, Red Mountain, and One Eyed Joker.

Deep freeze results in 'walk day'

Bundled up against the cold, trainer Steve Asmussen had to take off one of a couple coats he wore Friday while he washed his hands under a hose outside his barn. Quickly, the coat went back on, just as a blast of north wind sent four horses tied to a mechanical walker into a frenzy of bucking and kicking.

"I hate walk days," Asmussen said.

Indeed, Friday was a "walk day" at Fair Grounds, as the frozen main track was closed for training. New Orleans hasn't eluded the arctic blast that's swept over the southern U.S., and pre-dawn temperatures Friday morning dipped into the mid- to upper 20's. Sub-freezing temperatures were forecast again for Friday night.

A day without exercise coupled with an invigorating cold wind makes high-strung racehorses tough to handle. "You always end up suturing something on a walk day," Asmussen said.