Updated on 09/16/2011 7:42AM

Romping Free of Love may try Donn


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Free of Love's impressive victory in the allowance headliner Monday could put him in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap on Feb. 9.

"We'll nominate and take a peek," trainer Richard Violette said moments after Free of Love ran away from six overmatched rivals under a well-judged ride by Rene Douglas for his first victory since June 24 at Belmont. "The Donn comes up a little quick but Ralph [owner Ralph Evans] and I will kick it around and think about it. One of the reasons I chose Rene to ride him today was because I was looking for a jockey who could give us a commitment for the Donn if we chose to go in that direction. And he did a great job. The alternative right now would be a four-other-than allowance race later in the meet."

Free of Love proved he could run with the best when finishing second in the Grade 1 Jim Dandy Stakes and fifth, beaten less than eight lengths by Point Given, in the Grade 1 Travers within a three-week span last summer.

"He's really only had one bad race since last winter and that was at Hoosier Downs where he just didn't handle the banked turns," said Violette. "Everything around him in his last couple of starts have won including Evening Attire who has now won three straight stakes. My horse deserves to win a stakes. It doesn't have to be a Grade 1 like the Donn, but he deserves to be a stakes winner."

Bond: Mongoose or Ubiquity for Donn

Mongoose, who knocked off Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos on Saturday, and Ubiquity, the upset winner of last November's Clark Handicap, will both be nominated to the Grade 1 Donn Handicap, but only one is likely to start, trainer James Bond said.

"They're both front-running horses so it would be suicide to run them both. But I want to see how the race lays out, see who is nominated, see what the track condition is, too," Bond said. "We're pointing both horses in that direction and then [owner Gary] West will decide what he wants me to do. Both horses, we'd like to get a Grade 1 beside their name, and I'd like to train a Grade 1 winner for him."

Mongoose, who finished his 3-year-old season with two allowance wins, won a fourth-level allowance race by 6 1/4 lengths Saturday. It was his third straight victory. The race featured the return of Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos, who finished 8 3/4 lengths back in third.

"I was very confident, personally," Bond said. "Not knowing the horse but having Edgar [Prado] on the horse - he had ridden the horse before - and I knew we were dead tight, where Monarchos was coming off a long layoff. I wasn't as scared as everybody else was when I saw Monarchos's name in there."

On Sunday, Bond worked Ubiquity five furlongs in 1:02, an excellent move over the deep Payson Park surface.

"He's been working very well," Bond said.

Meanwhile, Bond is pointing Musical to Friday's De La Rose Handicap. After smartly winning two turf allowance races in the early part of last summer, Musical's last two starts of 2000 were dismal. Bond blamed a soft turf for Musical's seventh-place finish in the Diana. He also said Musical worked too fast before an October allowance race in which she was beaten 27 1/2 lengths.

Bond likes the way Musical has been training at Payson Park, and she will get the services of Jerry Bailey on Friday.

"When this filly's right she's a very good filly and I got her at the top of her game," Bond said. "She's never looked better and she's never trained better and I'm kind of excited to see her run. With Jerry on, it just increases her chances."

In the De La Rose, Musical will face a field that is expected to include Batique, Snow Dance, Veil of Avalon, My Sweet Westly, Clearly a Queen, Unbridled Vice, Wander Mom, Windsong, and Cherry Tree Hill.

Smok'n Frolic will skip Forward Gal

Smok'n Frolic, a multiple-stakes winning juvenile filly, breezed four furlongs in 50 seconds Tuesday at Gulfstream, but she won't be ready to run in Sunday's Forward Gal Stakes, trainer Todd Pletcher said.

"The timing of the race isn't great," said Pletcher, who has given Smok'n Frolic a trio of half-mile breezes. "We wanted to give her enough of a break that it's meaningful."

Smok'n Frolic, a daughter of Smoke Glacken, raced nine times as a 2-year-old, winning the Fashion Stakes, the Grade 3 Tempted, and Grade 2 Demoiselle.

Another Pletcher-trainee coming back off an extended layoff is Distilled, winner of last April's Illinois Derby. He has not been out since April 21, when he strained a suspensory ligament while getting banged around and having to pull up in the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland.

On Sunday, he breezed three furlongs in 39.80 seconds at Gulfstream. According to owner Cot Campbell, Distilled is being pointed to the Creme Fraiche Handicap on March 10 with perhaps an allowance prep before then.

Pletcher has also shipped Tugger into his Gulfstream Park barn from New York where she finished sixth as the even-money choice in the Affectionately Handicap on Jan. 12. Pletcher said he may run Tugger in the Shirley Jones Handicap, a seven-furlong, Grade 3 race here on Feb. 15.

Silent Fred's foot problems

Trainer Nick Zito said he has had to back off the training of Silent Fred - perhaps his top 3-year-old prospect - because of foot problems. Silent Fred finished third behind Saarland and Nokoma in the Grade 3 Remsen to close out his juvenile campaign.

"He's been X-rayed a couple of times and it's nothing serious but we're behind schedule with him now, and you know how it is with foot troubles," said Zito. "You never know how long they'll take to heal."

- additional reporting by David Grening