08/04/2006 11:00PM

Rabbit already on Dutrow's mind


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - A year ago, trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. ran an entry, Show Boot and Crafty Player, to help soften up the speedy Commentator in the Woodward Stakes. His plan worked to perfection as Show Boot pushed Commentator for the opening half-mile, eventually paving the way for the third member of Dutrow's Woodward triumvirate, Saint Liam, to register an easy victory in the Grade 1 event.

Saint Liam, the reigning Horse of the Year, has been retired to stud duty while Show Boot and Crafty Player have long since left Dutrow's barn and plunged to the bottom level of the claiming ranks. But Commentator is still going strong and pointing for a potential start in the Grade 1 Forego here at Saratoga on Sept. 2. And Dutrow says he will be waiting with his latest sprint star, Silver Wagon, and another rabbit to again assure Commentator doesn't get loose on an easy lead.

"If Commentator goes in the Forego we'll have a rabbit in the race in case he runs," Dutrow said Saturday. "I'm not going to let him just gallop along on the lead. Nick Zito is a friend of mine but I want to win this race and I'll do whatever it takes to win."

Silver Wagon posted an optional claiming win here last Sunday while making his first start since being transferred to Dutrow's barn earlier this summer. Silver Wagon is owned by the Four Roses Stable, the owner of 2005 Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Silver Train, who also resides under the powerful Dutrow shed.

"He's doing great, came out of the race good and just loves this track," Dutrow said of Silver Wagon, who won the Grade 1 Hopeful here as a 2-year-old in 2003. "He's sharp as a tack right now."

Dutrow isn't sure who will be his rabbit, "but we'll find somebody," he said.

Zito, who trains Commentator, was unphased when learning of Dutrow's plan.

"Tell him Easter is in April, not September," Zito said with a smile. "There are no rabbits in September. My good friend Rick Dutrow is all out of whack as usual."

Sis City retired following poor work

Dutrow worked two of his stakes horses, Ferocious One and Sis City, six furlongs in company on Saturday morning with Ferocious One easily the better of the pair. Ferocious Won covered the distance in 1:14.19 while Sis City weakened late after joining her mate through some fast early splits to finish in 1:15.03.

Dutrow said Sis City, winless since dominating the Grade 1 Ashland in April of 2005, would be retired and sent to Stonerside Stable in Kentucky, where she will be turned out before being bred next season.

Ferocious Won is coming off victories in the Mike Lee and New York Derby and is eligible for a $250,000 bonus if he can complete the sweep of the Big Apple Triple by winning the $100,000 Albany Stakes here on Aug. 23.

Wild Fit to Alabama

As expected, trainer Patrick Biancone scratched Wild Fit out of Saturday's Grade 1 Test Stakes when the track remained dry and fast. Biancone ran Sabatini instead.

He will now point Wild Fit to the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama Stakes on Aug. 19.

"It's more her style,'' Biancone said. "At seven furlongs, [Sabatini] is a better horse.''

Wild Fit, who won the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante at seven furlongs last summer, has not run since finishing third in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks in March. Wild Fit had an abscess on a lung and needed time off. She has been training sensationally here, including a bullet half-mile move in 47 seconds on Aug. 2.

Asked if it will be a difficult task to train up to a 1 1/4-mile race off a five-month layoff, Biancone said, "They pay me to train, no?''

Pine Island, runner-up in the Mother Goose and Coaching Club American Oaks, is also pointing to the Alabama. On Saturday, she worked four furlongs in 50.07 seconds over the Oklahoma training track.

"I couldn't be more pleased with the way she's doing,'' trainer Shug McGaughey said.

Wonder Lady Anne L, who beat Pine Island in the Coaching Club American Oaks, may not make the Alabama, according to Dutrow.

"We're having trouble with her,'' Dutrow said. "She has a cough that we're trying to control. As soon as we can control that, we'll put her back on the track.''

Henny Hughes slows it down

Henny Hughes worked four furlongs in 50.01 seconds Saturday morning at Saratoga.

That is not a misprint.

The fleet 3-year-old Henny Hughes, who last week went four furlongs in 46.36 seconds, was purposely slowed down by exercise rider Bernie Dalton per orders from trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. And it wasn't easy.

A pair of workers galloped past Henny Hughes and broke off right in front of him. Naturally, Henny Hughes wanted to go after them. But Dalton did a stellar job keeping Henny Hughes in control and the colt went through his work as desired. He jumped a shadow past the wire and took off galloping out past both horses.

"I went to the boat store yesterday and bought an anchor,'' Dalton said. "Those two went by him and he was like, 'Let me go.' ''

McLaughlin said he knows Henny Hughes can breeze fast, he just wants to keep him "sound and happy till the 26th'' the date of the Grade 1 King's Bishop here.''

- additional reporting by David Grening