05/06/2004 11:00PM

Second of June starts long road back


MIAMI - Trainer Bill Cesare couldn't help but wonder what might have been while watching Smarty Jones splash to victory in the Kentucky Derby.

After his Second of June had followed an easy victory in Gulfstream Park's Holy Bull Stakes with a game second-place finish to Read the Footnotes in the Fountain of Youth, Cesare had one of the hottest commodities in the 3-year-old division. But a few hours after the Fountain of Youth Cesare's Derby dreams were dashed when Second of June was diagnosed with a condylar fracture of his cannon bone.

Second of June underwent surgery the following day and according to Cesare is well on his way to recovery.

"He's been walking around the shed for about a month now," said Cesare. "We'll begin walking him under tack in a week or so and then he'll probably start jogging on the racetrack."

Cesare said it will be quite a while before Second of June makes it back to the races.

"He's still a long way off from running," said Cesare, who trains the 3-year-old for his mother, Barbara. "A lot will depend on how he deals with everything, but off the top of my head I'd say it would probably be October before he starts again. Believe me, I'm in no rush."

Plesa cheers on his brother-in-law

The one local trainer cheering the loudest for Smarty Jones last week was Eddie Plesa Jr., whose wife, Laurie, is a sister of trainer John Servis.

"Needless to say, it was just unbelievable watching that horse win," said Plesa, who watched the race on television in Florida with his wife and family. "Naturally, it would have been nice to have been there with John, but Laurie had made plans months ago for all of us to watch the Air and Sea show here that weekend. In addition, we knew John had a lot of family on hand for the Derby and we didn't want to add to all of that."

As a fellow trainer, and one who has already run a horse in the Derby himself, Plesa praised the job his brother-in-law did with Smarty Jones. "I think he absolutely handled his horse perfectly," said Plesa. "On a scale of one to 10, I'd give him an 11. I also respect the fact he decided to put his horse on Lasix for the first time and stick with Stewart [Elliott], who couldn't have given that horse a better ride."

Plesa said his wife and daughter, Kelsey, have already made plans to attend the Preakness.

"They're going to Maryland, but I'll be here running horses that weekend," said Plesa. "I might have a horse to run in the Flash Stakes the day before the Belmont, so if he's got a shot for the Triple Crown, we'll all be there."

Plesa entered this weekend with a chance to win the featured race on both days. On Saturday he was to send out Magic Mecke as the likely favorite in the $75,000 Carterista Handicap and on Sunday his Baronage is the horse to beat in the $40,000 Western Borders Stakes.

Baronage is already a stakes winner, having captured the OBS Sprint in Ocala on March 15. He returned off that race to finish third, beaten 4 3/4 lengths by Kaufy Mate, following a very unlucky trip in the 1 1/16-mile Aventura Stakes.

Baronage will likely have to run down Classy Migration to win the six-furlong Western Borders. Classy Migration posted back-to-back sprint wins in March at Gulfstream, including a 1 1/2-length victory over Medallist, who last weekend pulled off an upset in Aqueduct's Withers.

Rolled Stocking DQ under appeal

Owner Tom Roach has appealed the controversial Derby Day disqualification of Rolled Stocking from first to second in the afternoon's eighth race.

The appeal is scheduled to be heard by track president Ken Dunn on Monday.

"I was in Kentucky and never saw the race," said Tim Hills, who trains Rolled Stocking. "But after the disqualification I got calls from a number of people who were flabbergasted over the decision. My assistant, Linda Shanty, told me the same thing, so I had her file the appeal."

Hills will return to Calder in time to attend the hearing after saddling Mooji Moo in the Genuine Risk Stakes on Sunday at Belmont.