02/21/2002 1:00AM

Publication might ship for Louisiana Derby


NEW ORLEANS - Publication, the fourth-place finisher in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last fall, might ship from northern California to New Orleans to launch his 3-year-old campaign in the Louisiana Derby on March 10.

Trainer Terry Knight, based at Bay Meadows, said he had nominated Publication to several 3-year-old stakes races, but that he was leaning toward the Louisiana Derby. "Louisiana is my first choice," Knight said.

"I like the track surface and the distance of the race [1 1/16 miles]. I'd prefer to keep him off the harder tracks out here."

A Petionville colt who was sold by owner Larry Washington to Mercedes Stables late last year, Publication won his career debut in a maiden sprint at Bay Meadows, then won the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity over one mile in his second start. Publication was 103-1 in the Breeders' Cup, but closed strongly to finish fourth, beaten by a little more than three lengths by Johannesburg, the winner, and less than a length for third by Siphonic, the leading 3-year-old colt on the West Coast.

But a fifth-place finish behind Siphonic in the Dec. 15 Hollywood Futurity took some of the luster off Publication's Breeders' Cup performance. "He looked a little flat," Knight said. "He ran one-paced around there. It's a touch puzzling. Hopefully, you toss it out, but you don't know until you run them back. His next race should tell us a lot."

Publication has breezed two times this month and is scheduled to work again Saturday, Knight said.

Never Out back in Barnett's barn

The 3-year-old filly Never Out, second in the Grade 2 Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland the last time she started, has rejoined trainer Bobby Barnett's string at Fair Grounds. It's too late for Never Out to make the major spring races for 3-year-old fillies, but Barnett hopes to have her ready to race by June, provided her comeback goes well.

Never Out came into the 1 1/16-mile Alcibiades with only two sprint races under her belt, but led into deep stretch before succumbing to Take Charge Lady. Take Charge Lady returned to equal a track record here last weekend, winning the Silverbulletday by more than eight lengths, while Bold World, a filly Never Out beat by a length in her career debut at Ellis Park, won the Dame Mysterieuse Stakes Monday at Gulfstream by nine lengths.

Barnett said Never Out "had some pressure" in her left front ankle coming out of the Alcibiades and was taken out of training shortly thereafter. Rest, and not surgery, was prescribed for the injury, and Never Out has recently been in light training in Camden, S.C.

Jeremiah Jack can breathe easy

Jeremiah Jack, who missed the Risen Star Stakes last weekend because of an entrapped epiglottis, will resume training Sunday or Monday, trainer Tom Amoss said. Jeremiah Jack, who won the Houston Texan Juvenile in early December, underwent minor surgery last week to repair the problem, which affected his ability to breathe during exercise.

Amoss said he would evaluate Jeremiah Jack's schedule after the gelding returned to regular training, but said Jeremiah Jack would not run again at the Fair Grounds meet.

Drewman undergoing tests

When Drewman came back from a strong second-place finish in the Diplomat Way Handicap to finish ninth of 10 three weeks later in the Feb. 10 Whirlaway Handicap, the colt clearly was not himself, and his training after the race suggested as much to his connections.

Routine veterinary exams and X-rays turned up nothing in particular, so this week Drewman wound up at the Louisiana State University veterinary clinic, where a bone scan was performed.

Trainer Hal Williams said that what exactly ails Drewman still hasn't been pinpointed, but that the colt would miss the New Orleans Handicap.

"It's frustrating not to see him get the chance to show the talent he has," Williams said.