05/30/2006 11:00PM

'Ready' lands in better spot


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Discretion might well have been the better part of valor in the case of Ready to Please. After speed horses mostly fared poorly in the May 5 Kentucky Oaks, which trainer Todd Pletcher chose to skip with Ready to Please, it appears the decision to wait for the Grade 3, $150,000 Dogwood Breeders' Cup Stakes was a prudent one.

Ready to Please was a three-length winner of the April 14 Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park before Pletcher decided to withhold her from the Oaks. Whitey McCarthy, Pletcher's assistant at Churchill Downs, said the down time has been productive for Ready to Please, who figures to be the filly to beat Saturday in the Dogwood.

"She's trained right along," said McCarthy. "She's had plenty of time to recover from what obviously was a real decent effort at Oaklawn."

Lemons Forever rallied from far back to capture the Oaks, while most of the front-runners faded down the stretch. The Dogwood, run at one mile out of the chute, figures to have plenty of speed, including Ready to Please, but McCarthy said he is confident the race configuration could play into Ready to Please's favor. Ready to Please will be turning back in distance from the Fantasy, which was run around two turns at 1 1/16 miles.

"I think the one turn will help our filly," said McCarthy. "It certainly didn't hurt her when she was sprinting over the winter at Gulfstream. It will probably help us, turning back from the two turns."

The Dogwood, which is expected to get at least eight 3-year-old fillies, is one of three stakes to be run here Saturday. In the others, Lost in the Fog looms a heavy favorite in the $150,000 Aristides BC at six furlongs, while Purim, Rush Bay, and Senor Swinger are the likely favorites for the $100,000 Opening Verse, a handicap for older horses at 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Saturday entries were to be drawn Thursday. The three stakes will be combined with the $70,000 Texas Glitter, an overnight handicap, in a pick four wager.

Stewards reject Simon appeal

Trainer Chuck Simon has been rebuffed by the Churchill stewards after filing a rather unusual appeal last weekend. Simon asked for a hearing into the running of the sixth race on May 25, a $48,000 maiden special weight route won by Precious Kitten, who is owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trained by Dale Romans. Simon trains the second-place finisher, Earth to Nina, for longtime clients Kim and Roger Schipke.

The basis of Simon's complaint was that Rene Douglas, the jockey of Precious Kitten, illegally used a foreign object - a pair of his riding goggles - to urge his mount after dropping his whip nearing the sixteenth pole. The Equibase chart for the race states: "...the jockey alertly used his remaining pair of goggles to provide incentive."

Apparently the only specific reference to extraneous equipment in the Kentucky racing rulebook, which is available on the website khra.ky.gov, comes under KAR 1:016, section 16, which states in part that nothing "other than the ordinary whip shall be used to affect the speed of a horse in a race or workout."

Steward Rick Leigh said Wednesday that Simon's appeal was rejected last weekend by him and his colleagues, John Veitch and Butch Becraft.

Simon said he intends to take his appeal to the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority.

"It seems to me the rule is very specific in that only a whip can be used during the running of a race," he said.

Flying Glitter impresses in turf debut

Flying Glitter left a great first impression in her turf debut here Sunday. Always in front under Robby Albarado, Flying Glitter won the one-mile allowance by 2 1/2 lengths, earning a 92 Beyer Speed Figure.

"I was tickled to death with the way she handled the grass," said trainer Ronny Werner. "That sure does open a lot of doors for us. I don't have anything in particular in mind just yet, but the main thing is she likes firm ground, whether it's grass or dirt."

A 4-year-old Glitterman filly, Flying Glitter has six career wins, including two Grade 3 stakes.

Miss Norman targets Test

Miss Norman, the 3-year-old filly recently purchased by Lewis Lakin and Clifford Grum, is tentatively being pointed to the Grade 1 Test Stakes at Saratoga, said her new trainer, Bob Holthus.

Miss Norman had been owned by California businessman Greg Norman until she was sold about two weeks ago. In her last race, she finished 12th after setting the early pace in the Kentucky Oaks.

Ellis Park ready to open

Ellis Park, the Churchill-owned track in Henderson, Ky., was scheduled to reopen for training Thursday after having been closed since it was ravaged by a tornado last Nov. 6.

Ellis, which will run a 36-day meet beginning July 19, has undergone extensive repairs and renovations since being hit by the tornado. Brain Elmore, the track's new general manager, called the reopening "a true milestone."