06/17/2001 11:00PM

Red Bullet, Macho Uno arrive on scene


ELMONT, N.Y. - Saturday was a bittersweet day for trainer Joe Orseno.

Champion Perfect Sting got on a van bound for owner Frank Stronach's farm in Ocala, Fla. to recuperate from a tendon injury she suffered in the Manhattan Handicap on Belmont Stakes Day.

On a happier note, Orseno watched last year's 2-year-old champion Macho Uno and last year's Preakness winner Red Bullet unload from the same van that ferried Perfect Sting to Adena Springs South.

Orseno admitted to having mixed emotions as he bid goodbye to Perfect Sting while at the same time he welcomed back Macho Uno and Red Bullet into his Belmont Park barn.

Macho Uno hasn't raced since winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last November and Red Bullet has been away since finishing third in the Dwyer nearly a year ago.

"It certainly helped getting Macho Uno and Red Bullet back," Orseno said Monday. "They looked great, but I have been getting great reports all along on them."

After Orseno sees Macho Uno and Red Bullet breeze, he said he would consult with trainer Danny Vella, who manages Adena Springs South for Stronach, to map out campaigns for the colts.

"Maybe three races before the Breeders' Cup; even if it's two, it will be enough," Orseno said.

Orseno said he has no doubt that Red Bullet will be a serious factor in the handicap division.

"I called Danny Vella after the Stephen Foster and said, 'Did you see that?' " Orseno said, referring to Captain Steve's loss to longshot Guided Tour on Saturday. "I think the older horse division is the thinnest in years."

Last summer after the Dwyer, Red Bullet came down with a virus and when he was able to return to training, Orseno wasn't satisfied with the way the colt was going.

"We found what could have been a little shadow [on the X-rays] - nobody would have called it a fracture," Orseno said. "We turned him out for 120 days and then got him into light training."

Orseno said he skipped this year's Triple Crown with Macho Uno so the 3-year-old could experience bone growth.

Both Red Bullet and Macho Uno worked five furlongs last week in Florida before heading to New York.

Beautiful Pleasure set for Hempstead

Following a visually impressive 1 1/2-mile gallop Monday, Beautiful Pleasure appears on target for her 2001 debut in Saturday's $250,000 Hempstead Handicap, where she could be joined by stablemate Darling My Darling.

Beautiful Pleasure, who won last year's Hempstead by 7 1/4 lengths, has not run since finishing sixth in the Breeders' Cup Distaff last November.

Darling My Darling has won both her starts this year - a third-level allowance at Gulfstream Park and the Doubledogdare at Keeneland.

Donna Ward, who trains Beautiful Pleasure and Darling My Darling with her husband, trainer John Ward, said Darling My Darling is also under consideration for the Molly Pitcher at Monmouth, a week after the Hempstead.

Debby Oxley owns Darling My Darling, a 4-year-old, while Beautiful Pleasure, a 6-year-old, races for her husband, John Oxley.

Donna Ward said that running Beautiful Pleasure and Darling My Darling against each other would provide some insurance if Beautiful Pleasure needs the race. The Hempstead also would give Darling My Darling a crack at winning her first Grade 1.

"I'll talk to Debby and decide," Donna Ward said. "My intelligence tells me Beautiful Pleasure should need the race, but thing is, she's pretty fit. The Hempstead would give Darling My Darling a shot to get another Grade 1 placing, and if it turned out Beautiful Pleasure needs this race, Darling My Darling could win it. Darling My Darling is doing very good right now, and I don't see any Ribolettas in there."

Beautiful Pleasure was assigned 120 pounds as the Hempstead highweight. Darling My Darling would carry 114 pounds, if she started. Others probable for the 1 1/8-mile Hempstead are Shuvee winner Apple of Kent (117) and Jostle (117). Serra Lake (114), who beat Jostle in the Pimlico Distaff, is also possible, as is Sheepshead Bay winner Critical Eye (115).