08/16/2005 12:00AM

Sabertooth relaxes in strong gate work for Longacres Mile


AUBURN, Wash. - Several candidates for Sunday's Grade 3, $250,000 Longacres Mile logged their final serious preps last weekend, but no work was more crucial than the six-furlong drill registered by Sabertooth at Emerald Downs on Saturday.

Sabertooth, who won the 2002 Mile, missed a scheduled start in the July 31 Governor's Handicap because he acted up in the gate and was scratched. He also missed several days of training while healing from his self-inflicted scrapes and bruises. As a consequence, he absolutely needed a strong workout justify another crack at the Mile.

As at other junctures in his stellar career, Sabertooth responded big time, with a bullet six-furlong drill in 1:10.40 from the gate.

"It was just an excellent workout," said Kay Cooper, assistant to trainer Jim Penney. "He not only worked fast, he did it within himself, and he galloped out strong. I really couldn't have been more pleased. Now I feel really good about running him in the Mile."

Cooper credited the gate crew with helping Sabertooth to get comfortable in the gate before his work.

"He was leery approaching the gate after what happened last time, but the guys on the gate crew were very patient with him," she said. "In the end he walked right in and broke perfectly, which was a big relief. I was as concerned with his mental condition as with his physical condition, but he seems to be back to his old self."

Cooper said the barn's other Mile contender, Mt. Rainier winner Flamethrowintexan, will not work again before the Mile. He drilled five furlongs in a bullet 59 seconds last Thursday.

Other Mile hopefuls who drilled over the weekend include Harvard Avenue, who worked four furlongs in 50 seconds on Saturday at Santa Anita; Desert Boom, who worked four furlongs in 48 seconds on Saturday at Bay Meadows; and Snorter, who went a half-mile in 47.20 seconds here on Sunday.

On Monday, Adreamisborn worked a half mile at Golden Gate in 49.40, while No Giveaway worked six furlongs at Emerald Downs in 1:13.20 with rider Juan Gutierrez up.

"I'm very happy with the way he went," said Grant Forster, who trains No Giveaway for owner Herman Sarkowsky. "We're stretching out for the Mile, so we needed a good, strong work. He doesn't always work well, and I had visions of him going in 1:15 or 1:16, but he was into it today. He ran the last quarter in 23.80, so he really finished well."

No Giveaway is coming off a 2 1/4-length win in the July 31 Governor's Handicap, which improved his record at 6 1/2 furlongs to 5 for 5. He finished second in his only mile try, last year in the Trooper Seven Stakes, but he chipped a knee in that race.

Another romp for The Case Queen

The Case Queen, a 6 1/4-length winner of her debut on July 16, further enhanced her reputation with an 8 3/4-length score over allowance company last Saturday. The Case Queen, a 2-year-old daughter of Gold Case who races for Ron Crockett, got 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.40 to defeat Tactical Lies as the even-money favorite. The second choice, Celtic Crown, who was coming off a win in the six-furlong Angie C. Stakes on July 24, finished fourth of six.

The Case Queen skipped the Angie C. because she was not nominated to the Northwest Race Series, of which the Angie C. is a part, but trainer Tom Wenzel said she will be supplemented to the $75,000 Barbara Shinpoch Stakes at a mile on Sept. 10.

"I'm just thrilled this race went, because it gives her a stepping-stone to the Barbara Shinpoch," said Wenzel. "She's a very impressive filly. She got a little warm in the paddock before the race, but she seemed fine by the time they got to the gate, and she ran like a pro. I'm excited to see what she can do around two turns."

Piece of history for Bob Stories

Bob Stories made it into the Emerald Downs record book last Friday, equaling Fleet Pacific's mark of 15 wins over the track. Bob Stories, a 9-year-old son of Old Stories, notched his 15th score from 68 local starts by 1 1/2 lengths over $3,500 claimers, going six furlongs in 1:09.60.

"I was tickled he got a piece of the record," said George Colello, who has trained Bob Stories for all of his local starts. "He's such a nice old horse, and he always tries. It's been a pleasure to have him around."

Colello said he never would have predicted that Bob Stories, who has now earned over $144,000, would have a long and distinguished career.

"He was an orphan, and we had to feed him with a bottle when he was a baby," recalled the trainer. "I really didn't think he'd amount to anything until I worked him, but now he's one of my favorite horses."