11/25/2005 12:00AM

Silver Haze to resume promising turf career


BOSSIER CITY, La. - Before a couple of little things like the Grade 2 Ohio and Super derbies got in his way, Silver Haze had a nice little turf career going, winning both the Excalibur and the Bossier City stakes early in the Louisiana Downs meeting. In Sunday's Woodchopper Stakes, the 3-year-old son of Silver Deputy returns to the surface that trainer Steve Wren considers his future.

"We think he is a better horse on the grass or is going to be better on the grass," said Wren Friday morning. "He sure loves this turf course."

While he might not have been on his best surface in his last few starts, Silver Haze far from embarrassed himself while facing some of the best 3-year-olds in the Midwest. After finishing fourth in the Ohio Derby in early July, he turned in a rallying third-place finish in the Prelude Stakes here Sept. 5. That effort earned him a spot in this year's Super Derby, where he finished seventh, 6 1/2 lengths behind wire-to-wire winner The Daddy. Wren said he was expecting better, and that Silver Haze might have been affected by the collapse of Royal Saint in the stretch.

"We didn't get the pace that we thought we were going to," he said. "It looked like he was starting to move a little bit right when that horse went down in midstretch. I don't know if he was traumatized by that or what but he just flattened out."

also came back sporting an eye injury after the race.

"It looked like he might lose the eye," Wren said. "It was touch and go there for about 30 days and, as a result, he missed some training. We were going to go in the Oklahoma Derby [Oct. 21] with him but were forced to skip the race. He's going to go Sunday and then get the winter off before we bring him back in the spring and concentrate on the turf as an older horse."

E.J. Perrodin, aboard for Silver Haze's previous exploits on the grass, will once again be in the saddle for the Woodchopper, a 1 1/16-mile race that drew a field of eight.

The main threat to Silver Haze's homecoming to the Louisiana Downs turf appears to be Cosmic Kris. A gelded son of Storm Creek, has raced almost exclusively on turf, winning 4 of his 13 grass starts. Included in those victories is a front-running score in the Regaey Island Stakes at Ellis Park in July. Trainer Frank Springer has given the call to Terry Thompson.