07/20/2004 11:00PM

Punch Appeal a longshot no longer


MIAMI - Yes It's Gold was the even-money favorite and Punch Appeal a 14-1 outsider when the pair met for the first time four weeks ago in the J J'sdream Stakes. But those roles will be reversed when the two juvenile fillies match strides again in Friday's $40,000 Chispiski Stakes.

Punch Appeal rallied up the rail to post a surprisingly easy 4 1/4-length decision in the J J'sdream. Yes It's Gold, on the other hand, failed to show her abundant speed in her stakes debut and finished sixth, more than 13 lengths behind the winner.

Yes It's Gold had captured her only previous start by 14 1/4 lengths and was subsequently purchased privately by her current connections, Walter New and the Heiligbrodt Racing Stable. She was turned over to trainer David Fawkes a week before the J J'sdream. As a result, Fawkes is inclined to toss out her last effort.

"The whole scenario with the change in barns and everything really didn't play in her favor, that's for sure," said Fawkes. "She worked phenomenally once coming over to us before the race, but I didn't really have her too long, and I think the combination of the real sharp work and the big, big race she'd already run caused her to bounce in the stakes."

Fawkes said he backed off Yes It's Gold a bit after the J J'sdream.

"I freshened her up a little and just gave her an easy breeze the other day," said Fawkes, referring to Sunday's three-furlong work in 37 seconds. "She's sharp and very happy now, although I'm still not 100 percent sure she's going to run on Friday. I want to take a look at the race first before deciding."

Fawkes's primary goal for Yes It's Gold is the rich Florida Stallion Stakes series, which begins Aug. 14 with the six-furlong Desert Vixen Stakes.

"I'd like to get a race into her before the Stallion Stakes because it will help me get a little better handle on the filly, but it's not absolutely necessary," said Fawkes. "In fact, if this race were a day or two later I wouldn't even consider running at all, because I wouldn't want to risk emptying the tank with a big effort too close to the Stallion Stakes."

Gary Boulanger will be aboard Yes It's Gold for the first time in the Chispiski.

The Chispiski serves as a Desert Vixen prep for the majority of the field, but not for Punch Appeal. Although Punch Appeal is a Florida-bred by Successful Appeal, the required payments were not made to keep her eligible for the Stallion Stakes. The program does not allow supplementary nominations.

Leona's Knight, who came into the J J'sdream off a pair of impressive victories but only finished fifth, also looks to rebound in the Chispiski. Completing the field are Bea's Bionda, Lit'l Deuce Coupe, Dansetta Light, and Babaganush.

Devils Disciple will sit out series

The boys will have their chance to get ready for the opening round of the Stallion Stakes on Sunday in the six-furlong Dear Murray Stakes. Just as in the Chispiski, however, the odds-on favorite is not eligible for the series.

Devils Disciple, who easily defeated the previously unbeaten B. B. Best when posting a nine-length victory in the Criterium Stakes on July 3, will have to begin looking out of town for future assignments after the Dear Murray. His competition Sunday will include Magic Speed, runner-up in the Criterium, along with the undefeated Brilliant Man and improving Cherokee Chase.

Brilliant Man tuned up for the Dear Murray with a sharp half-mile work in 48.60 seconds on Wednesday.

B. B. Best returned to the work tab for the first time since the Criterium on Monday with a half-mile breeze in 48.40 seconds. He will likely make his next start in the Dr. Fager on Aug. 14.

Three days to be drawn in advance

Due to the Monday-to-Friday break in the racing schedule next week, three cards' entries will be drawn eight days in advance. Entries will be taken Friday for July 31, Saturday for Aug. 1, and Sunday for Aug. 2.

The racing office will reopen July 30, when entries will be taken for Monday, Aug. 3. The main track will also be closed for training Monday through Wednesday. The training track will be open throughout the week.