01/11/2007 1:00AM

Premium Tap aimed at Donn Handicap

Email

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - The Grade 1 Donn Handicap on Feb. 3 already figured to be a star-studded affair, with Breeders' Cup Classic winner and Horse of the Year favorite Invasor pointing to the race. But the meet's premier event for older horses could get even better with Premium Tap on the grounds and listed as a potential starter for the Donn by trainer John Kimmel.

Premium Tap, who finished third in the Classic and won two Grade 1's in 2006, was recently purchased privately by "Saudi Arabian interests," according to Kimmel, who will continue to train the horse throughout his 2007 campaign. No sale price was disclosed.

Premium Tap, who won the Grade 1 Woodward and Grade 1 Clark handicaps last season, shipped from Payson Park to Gulfstream earlier this week.

"Now that he's at Gulfstream we'll start getting more serious with his training," Kimmel said on Wednesday morning. "I always thought he liked this surface better than the deeper track at Payson Park. Unfortunately the herpes quarantine up there put a wrench in my program. I had scheduled to ship him out the day they quarantined Payson. I didn't want to take a chance working him at Payson, so it's put us about two weeks behind where we should have been at this point."

Kimmel said the Dubai World Cup on March 31 and the Breeders' Cup Classic are Premium Tap's two main goals in 2007.

"I was at Gulfstream on Tuesday to watch him train, and he went very well," said Kimmel. "And if all continues to go well, I'll probably work him in the next few days. The Donn is still possible, although not definite, but I would like to get one race into him here before he goes to Dubai."

Sweetnorthernsaint points for Millions

Sweetnorthernsaint came out of his third-place finish in Saturday's Hal's Hope Handicap well, according to trainer Michael Trombetta, and is still eyeing the $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic on Jan. 27 for his next start.

Sweetnorthernsaint might have needed the race, Trombetta said. He didn't race for six months after finishing second in the Preakness, and returned with a pair of easy victories, one in October and one in November.

"Then the horse had to move down here and get acclimated to the weather," he said. "It's all part of the process. So all in all I was pleased with his effort on Saturday. Hopefully it will serve as a good prep for the next one in a few weeks, which is the big prize."

Trombetta said he plans to back off a bit on Weigelia, who finished sixth and last as the 2-1 co-favorite in Saturday's Grade 3 Mr. Prospector Handicap. In his previous start, Weigelia was an easy winner of Calder's Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap.

"He ran back a little closer than he likes, and he also lost a front shoe in the race, which certainly was not in his favor," Trombetta said. "He's had two hard runs within a three-week period, so I'm going to give him a little time and freshen him up for now."

Formal Miss to skip Marshua's River

Formal Miss will pass Saturday's $75,000 Marshua's River Stakes in favor of the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf on Jan. 27. The Sunshine Millions is likely to be the final start of Formal Miss's career, as she's booked to be bred to Breeders' Cup Mile runner-up Aragorn this spring.

Formal Miss has competed in each of the last two editions of the Sunshine Millions Turf, finishing seventh here in 2005 and a troubled sixth last year at Santa Anita. Formal Miss, who is trained by Paul Maxwell, has won 10 of 45 career starts for earnings of over $491,000.

* Swap Fliparoo, winner of the Grade 1 Test Stakes last year at 3, worked five furlongs in 1:01 at Gulfstream on Wednesday. Swap Fliparoo, who closed out her 3-year-old campaign finishing third in Aqueduct's Grade 2 Fast Flight Handicap, could make her next start in the $100,000 First Lady Handicap on Jan. 20.

* Jockey Rafael Bejarano won three of the first four races on Wednesday's card to solidify his lead atop the jockey standings after the first week of the 2007 meet. Bejarano finished third when riding regularly here for the first time during the 2006 session, winning 71 races, including five stakes.