03/22/2009 11:00PM

Silver City will shorten up for Derby Trial


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Silver City will step off the Kentucky Derby trail and point for the Derby Trial next month at Churchill Downs following his recent fifth-place finish in the Grade 2, $300,000 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn.

"At this point in time we have decided to keep him around one turn for a while," said Bret Calhoun, who trains Silver City for Clarence Scharbauer Jr.

Silver City put himself on the Kentucky Derby trail when he finished second to early favorite Old Fashioned in the Grade 3, $250,000 Southwest at Oaklawn in his two-turn debut Feb. 16. In the Rebel, he set a quick pace on a wet track before being overtaken midway on the final turn in a race won by 56-1 shot Win Willy.

"He came back out of the race real good," said Calhoun, who shipped Silver City in from Fair Grounds for the Rebel. "He's still at Oaklawn. He'll remain there until somewhere around the middle of April, and then we'll send him to Kentucky."

Calhoun said Silver City would have a couple of breezes at Oaklawn prior to the Grade 3, $100,000 Derby Trial, a 7 1/2-furlong race to be run on April 25. By keeping the horse in Hot Springs, where he has a division, Calhoun can keep training Silver City on dirt up to the Derby Trial.

Calhoun on Monday was sending a division of horses from Fair Grounds, which closes this week, to Keeneland, which conducts its races on Polytrack.

Silver City has proven to be a brilliant sprinter, putting up Beyer Figures of 101 for his dominant wins in the $50,000 Dixieland at Oaklawn in January and a first-level allowance last fall at Churchill Downs. He is a son of Unbridled's Song.

Big Beyer for She's Our Annie

She's Our Annie earned the second-best Beyer Figure of the Oaklawn meet on Sunday, when she was given a 104 for her win in the $50,000 Prima Donna. She's Our Annie was making her stakes debut in the six-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies and covered the distance in a meet-best time of 1:09.03.

"She showed a lot of potential," said Jinks Fires, who trains She's Our Annie for Destiny Oaks. "It looked like she can go on, so we'll try her a mile in the Instant Racing next time."

The $100,000 race for 3-year-old fillies will be run at Oaklawn on April 11. It will be the two-turn debut for She's Our Annie, who is a daughter of Medaglia d'Oro. She is now 3 for 4 lifetime, having won her maiden and a first-level allowance earlier this meet at Oaklawn.

Native Ruler owns the best Beyer of the Oaklawn meet, having been awarded a 106 for his win in the $50,000 King Cotton for older sprinters here Jan. 31.

Fantasy or Ashland next for Be Fair

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas on Monday was weighing his options for Be Fair, a talented half-sister to Grade 2 winner Macho Again who finished a troubled fourth in the Grade 3, $100,000 Honeybee here March 15. He said she could remain at her Oaklawn base and target the Grade 2, $250,000 Fantasy on April 5, or ship to Keeneland to run in the Grade 1, $400,000 Ashland on April 4.

Be Fair had won both of her starts heading into the Honeybee. She hesitated at the start from her rail post in the 1 1/16-mile race, then rallied from last for fourth. Be Fair, who is by Exchange Rate, earned a Beyer of 82.

A dozen days for Escobar

Jockey Martin Escobar has been suspended a total of 12 days for three recent riding infractions at Oaklawn. He has not appealed the rulings, according to the stewards. Escobar, who is eligible to ride in stakes worth $100,000 or more, will be suspended through April 8.

Escobar's mount Forest Voices was disqualified from second to sixth for an incident on the final turn March 19. The other two suspensions also were for careless riding, but did not result in disqualifications. Escobar is the eighth-leading rider at Oaklawn, with 16 wins from 125 mounts. He is expected to resume riding at the Lone Star Park meet that opens April 9.

* Proud Spell, winner of last year's Kentucky Oaks, breezed five furlongs in 1:01 here Monday in preparation for the Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap on April 4.