01/25/2010 12:00AM

Ryan makes plans for stable stars

Email
Barbara Livingston
Musket Man is being considered for a start in the $65,000 Super Stakes on Feb. 6 at Tampa Bay Downs. It would be his first race since a third-place finish in last year's Preakness Stakes.

OLDSMAR, Fla. - Trainer Derek Ryan has firmed up plans for the big guns in his stable - last year's Tampa Bay Derby winner Musket Man, his 2010 Tampa Derby hopeful Schoolyard Dreams, and 2007 Tampa Derby winner Big Truck. All three worked last Thursday.

Schoolyard Dreams has won 2 of 3 starts, including an optional-claiming route at Tampa last out Jan. 9. Schoolyard Dreams worked in company with Musket Man wearing blinkers, and Ryan said he would like to add them when Schoolyard Dreams runs in the Grade 3 Sam Davis here Feb. 13. Both Musket Man and Schoolyard Dreams went five furlongs in 1:00, with Daniel Centeno aboard Schoolyard Dreams.

"They both went very well," Ryan said. "We worked Schoolyard Dreams in blinkers and he seemed more focused. Danny said he was looking at the grandstand down the lane when he won here the other day, and if we can get permission from the stewards, I'd like to put them on for the Sam Davis. They're both such laid-back horses we have to work with them to get them to get down to business. It's not that they don't have the talent or they're lazy, they both just have mellow personalities, and we have to get after them sometimes to use their abilities to the point where we get fitness in them."

Ryan said he's looking at the $65,000 Super Stakes going seven furlongs here Feb. 6 for Musket Man's return to action. He has not raced since finishing third in the Preakness last year.

"It's about time for him to get going again," he said.

Meanwhile, Big Truck worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 and will be back in action soon. Big Truck finished last in the Jan. 9 Pelican Stakes in his first start in more than a year, but Ryan said he "just wasn't ready to go" and should improve in time.

Three riders thrown in Sunday spill

Three riders, including leading rider Centeno, went down in deep stretch during Sunday's first race. None of the jockeys appeared seriously injured, and all three horses went back to their respective barns.

Centeno was in the thick of the battle for the lead in the mile and 40-yard maiden route aboard Sky Fuse, who clipped the heels of Wadocashki and fell. Light Event, with Janio Cruz aboard, could not avoid Sky Fuse as that horse attempted to get up and struck him, unseating Cruz. Kristina McManigell was unseated when her mount, Dancinathewhitney, attempted to vault Centeno as he laid on the ground.

Cruz and McManigell walked off the track, while Centeno, who appeared to be struck with a glancing blow from one of the hooves of Dancinatthewhitney, was taken to the hospital complaining of back pain. On Monday, jockey agent Dan Mellul said Centeno was sore but fine, and was expected to ride on Wednesday.

Wadocashski was disqualified from second and placed last for her actions in the stretch.

* Trainer Brenda McCarthy lit up the board once again in the last race here Saturday, winning with Miss Tricky Me for a $49.20 mutuel. On Jan. 9, she sent out Fries to win to the tune of a $74.20 return, and she won with Exchange the Limit for a $102.60 payoff on Dec. 16.

* Newcomers to note at this meet include Chris Block, who has stalls here for the first time and is off to a flying start with 3 wins from 5 starts. Another newcomer worth watching is Brian Williamson. Many of Williamson's horses are turf runners, and many of the grass races this meet have been taken off and run on the main track. Other newcomers to Tampa who are off to a good start are Eric Reed, with five winners at the meet; Wayne Catalano, with four victories; and Chuck Peery, with three winners.