03/13/2008 11:00PM

Shadowbdancing tries sprinting in return


STICKNEY, Ill. - Followers of the Chicago racing scene have grown familiar with the "bdancing" horses trained by Terrel Gore and owned by Bob and Nancy Bartels. The most notable among them is the Illinois-bred stakes veteran Bluesbdancing, who is training along at Hawthorne toward her 2008 debut. But the one running in the featured fifth race Sunday at Hawthorne, Shadowbdancing, also might be worth tracking.

Shadowbdancing was one of seven horses entered in a six-furlong, entry-level allowance also open to $35,000 claimers and restricted to 3-year-olds. He has post 2, jockey Randy Meier, and five timed workouts since official clockers returned to Hawthorne after a winter break. Shadowbdancing has gotten up to five furlongs in his work, and also breezed for speed, turning in a bullet three-furlong move in 34.80 seconds on March 2.

That quick, short work seems noteworthy, since Shadowbdancing won his maiden over 1 1/16 miles and ended his 2-year-old campaign with three straight route races. His one-turn tries were much less impressive, but both came on Polytrack, and Shadowbdancing appeared much more comfortable on the Hawthorne dirt.

In his first race here last fall, he was beaten a nose by Recapturetheglory, who went on to finish a solid second behind Cool Coal Man in a Churchill Downs allowance race. Shadowbdancing won his maiden on Oct. 19 by more than four lengths, and Gore gave him a major excuse for a distant third-place finish as the favorite in an entry-level allowance race on Nov. 25.

"He had an abscess that day," Gore reported on Friday morning.

Gore said Shadowbdancing has fully recovered from his foot problem, and said a couple weeks ago that he had high hopes for Shadowbdancing's spring campaign.

"I think he's ready to run well right now," Gore said.

The prime competition Sunday could come from Camaraderie, who tortured bettors here last fall. After a decent try at Keeneland in his career debut, Camaraderie lost at even-money on Nov. 3 at Hawthorne, lost at 7-5 two weeks later, and - of course - won by three on Dec. 1, when handicappers had pretty much given up on him, sending him off at odds of 9-2.

Predestination also ran well here in the fall, finishing second in a pair of starts at a class level similar to Sunday's.

Rare light day for Magana

Trainer Hector Magana entered just one horse Sunday at Hawthorne, but that will be a slow day for the Magana operation as it stands at the moment. Magana is training for the ownership team of Rich and Karen Papiese, and the Papieses have dived into the game headfirst in recent months.

Magana has five horses still stabled at Oaklawn, but 37 more at Hawthorne right now. Trainer Alvin Sider at Fair Grounds has another 30 for the Papieses, and Magana said there are 16 more 2-year-olds being readied in two different locations. Magana got 35 stalls at Arlington, but that isn't enough for the Papiese stock, and Magana will operate a 20- or 25-horse satellite string at Prairie Meadows.

All of which is pretty crazy for a guy who just two years ago operated something like a 15-horse string.

"It's a lot of work," Magana said, coming up for air during the renovation break here Friday morning. "But I don't mind that. I'm here to work."

Magana pointed out that when he worked as an assistant to trainer Bobby Frankel, he helped run a large shed row. Still, the responsibilities now are diverse and somewhat daunting, especially running two strings at the same time.

Rich Papiese, Magana said, is a Chicagoan working in the telecommunications industry. The Papieses have owned horses for several years, but clearly have ratcheted up their involvement recently, claiming horses - and having horses claimed - at a rapid pace.

"They claimed six from me just at Oaklawn," Magana said.

Most likely, they will soon be replaced.

Thaw produces slow times

After producing very fast times during opening week - especially last Sunday, when several horses of modest ability ran six furlongs in less than 1:10 - the Hawthorne track was producing times this week that were, well, very slow. Such is life at a winter venue, where weather can play havoc with the conditions.

What happened during the two dark days was that the mercury rose, drifting up close to 60 degrees Thursday. The base of the track, frozen solid for weeks, apparently thawed, and rather than striking a hard and fast surface, horses were sinking down into the track.

While the change may have made handicapping a challenge, conditions could have been much worse had melting water bubbled up to the top of the track.

"If we hadn't stayed on top of things, we probably would have had a sloppy track yesterday," Hawthorne assistant general manager Jim Miller said Friday.

Times were slow again during Friday's races, but Miller said some material had been graded off the top of the track, and that the surface was being steadily watered in an effort to make it at least mildly tighter than on Thursday.