01/29/2007 12:00AM

Premium Tap likely to pass Donn


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Premium Tap, who finished third behind Horse of the Year Invasor in the Breeders' Cup Classic, may now have to wait until the Dubai World Cup on March 31 to get a rematch with the champ instead of in Saturday's Grade 1 Donn Handicap as originally planned.

Trainer John Kimmel said that Premium Tap would likely pass the Donn in lieu of the 1 1/2-mile Kings Cup in Saudi Arabia on Feb. 16.

Premium Tap, a two-time Grade 1 winner in 2006, was recently purchased from owners George Kline, Peter Alevizos, and David Whelihan. Kimmel said Sunday that the new owner is "a member of the royal family of Saudi Arabia."

"I'll be having a discussion with representatives for the new owner on Tuesday, but from what they're telling me their preference now is to pass the Donn and instead send him to Saudi Arabia for the Kings Cup, which is a very important race for his new connections," said Kimmel.

"He'll use that as his final prep for the World Cup, which is the primary goal."

Premium Tap couldn't be training better, Kimmel said, and he was pleased after watching him work five furlongs here Sunday.

"He went beautifully," said Kimmel. "I caught him in splits of 24 and change, 36 and change, 1:01.20, then out six furlongs in 1:14.60 and seven-eighths in 1:29 and change."

Barring another last-minute change in plans, Kimmel said that Premium Tap will work twice more at Gulfstream before boarding a plane for Saudi Arabia on Feb. 10.

"I'm sending one of my people with the horse and she'll stay with him through the World Cup," said Kimmel. "After that, he's scheduled to return with me to continue his 2007 campaign with a return trip to the Breeders' Cup Classic our second major goal for the year."

The status of another potential member of the Donn lineup, Chatain, also was up in the air as of Monday.

Chatain, a lightly raced but extremely talented 4-year-old, posted a game head decision over Sir Greeley in the Grade 3 Hal's Hope Handicap on Jan. 6. The Hal's Hope was only Chatain's fourth start, and second since suffering his only loss, to Showing Up here last March.

"The Donn is starting to look like the Breeders' Cup in February," trainer Angel Penna Jr. said, jokingly. "The whole thing is going up against Invasor. I'm not sure if I want to give my horse two hard, back-to-back races at this time of year, and I do have the Mineshaft at the Fair Grounds to fall back on if I want to give him another week."

Chatain worked five furlongs in 59.40 at Palm Meadows on Monday, the best of 38 works at the distance.

"I'll enter him and see what the field looks like and what post we get," said Penna. "But to be honest, the way he worked this morning, I'm probably going to run."

English Channel a no-go

Saturday's Donn card lost another potential marquee matchup when leading trainer Anthony Sciametta Jr. said that English Channel would not return to defend his title in the Canadian Turf Handicap. The race was expected to feature a rematch between English Channel and Eclipse Award Turf champion Miesque's Approval, who finished second in last year's running of the Canadian.

"English Channel came down with a little respiratory infection and missed some time," said Sciametta. "So we'll just wait another week and send him to the race at the Fair Grounds and use that as his final prep for Dubai."

Sciametta was referring to the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup Handicap on Feb. 10.

Street Sense gets first work this year

It wasn't fast, but it was enough to make the work tab. Street Sense, last year's champion 2-year-old male, breezed a half-mile in 53 seconds at the Palm Meadows training center on Monday morning, exactly one week after being named the Eclipse Award winner. It was his first recorded work since he won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. The time was the slowest of 24 at the distance.

"He didn't blow much," said his trainer, Carl Nafzger. "He didn't blow any."

Nafzger said Street Sense got a late start to his training this winter because "he wasn't doing good" after arriving at Palm Meadows late last year. "We had to back off two or two and a half weeks," he said. "He was growing. He's filled out, scoped out. It was like a freshman in high school turning into a senior."

Nafzger acknowledged that Street Sense cannot have any hiccups between now and the May 5 Kentucky Derby. He is expected to have only two starts prior to the Derby.

"We're cutting it pretty close," Nafzger said. "Everything has to go right. If he takes us there, we'll be there. We've got all of February and part of March. If he gets a start into him a couple of weeks before the Blue Grass, that'll be just right. We're fortunate. We got our seasoning last year."

Street Sense is seeking to become the first horse to win the Derby after capturing the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Sweetnorthernsaint is fine

Trainer Michael Trombetta said Monday that Sweetnorthernsaint returned well from his fifth-place finish as the favorite in Saturday's $1omillion Sunshine Millions Classic. The chances of Sweetnorthernsaint and jockey Ramon Dominguez were compromised by breaking from post 12 in the 1 1/8-mile Classic.

"We were obviously a victim of the post," Trombetta said. "Ramon did a great job to get him over, but given the post and the fact I think there was an inside bias on Saturday, it became just a little too much to overcome. Had it been a race for $150,000 or thereabouts I probably would have bailed and found something else, but this is the race we'd been pointing towards, and for $1 million we had to give it a try."

Trombetta planned to ship Sweetnorthernsaint back to Maryland on Tuesday. "We'll send him back north, see how he trains, and then find a spot," he said. "The General George is on the horizon and that's a possibility, although we're not going to push ourselves to it."

* Trainer Bill Kaplan, still on a high from Saturday's victory by Storm in May in the Sunshine Millions Dash, was back to business Monday, working Drums of Thunder five furlongs in 1:02 at Calder with jockey Manoel Cruz aboard. Drums of Thunder is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut Saturday against Nobiz Like Shobiz and Scat Daddy in the Grade 3 Holy Bull.

* Also working Monday, at Palm Meadows, was 3-year-old filly champion Wait a While, who covered a half-mile on turf in 50 seconds.

* Cowtown Cat, preparing for the Swale Stakes on Saturday at Gulfstream, worked five furlongs in 1:01.80 at the Palm Beach Downs training center Monday.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman