02/27/2009 12:00AM

Sky Diva impresses in half-mile drill


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Training hours proved rather uneventful here Friday morning. At least until a good-looking chestnut with a blaze face sizzled through a half-mile workout in 46.43 seconds shortly after 8 a.m. The work of the day belonged to Grade 1 winner Sky Diva, who shipped locally from Fair Grounds with a half-dozen other horses belonging to trainer Steve Klesaris earlier this month.

Sky Diva won the Grade 1 Frizette in her second career start. She returned three weeks later to finish third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies before closing out her 2-year-old campaign with a third-place finish as the 1-5 favorite in Aqueduct's Grade 2 Demoiselle on Nov. 29.

Klesaris originally brought Sky Diva to Fair Grounds, where he has the majority of his horses stabled this winter, before transferring her here several weeks ago. Friday's work was the third this winter for Sky Diva, who had jockey Alan Garcia aboard for the drill.

"I felt the Fair Grounds track was a little tighter than I like and a bit too busy in the morning," Klesaris said when asked why he moved his filly in midwinter. "The weather is also better here. Her first two works were just soft breezes, leg stretchers, but today was a regular work, and she worked very well."

Klesaris said he's inclined to ignore Sky Diva's poor effort in the Demoiselle.

"The horse in front started getting out into her, and she just kept trying to get away from the other horse and began getting out so badly herself the rider really had to fight her just to keep her in," Klesaris said. "She pretty much got herself tired that day."

Klesaris said he has nothing specific picked out for Sky Diva's return, although he did confirm that his main goal would be the Kentucky Oaks on May 1.

"I'll need to find something for her in April to use as a prep for the Oaks," Klesaris said. "Just where and when that might be hasn't been decided, although it's possible we could run her here if we can find the right race."

West Side Bernie opts to stay at two turns

West Side Bernie is one of the few top-quality 3-year-olds in the area who was absent from Saturday's Fountain of Youth. West Side Bernie opened his 2009 campaign and Kentucky Derby quest by finishing a wide-running third in the 1 1/8-mile Holy Bull on Jan. 31.

"I just didn't think turning him back to a one-turn mile and then stretching him back to a mile and one-eighth for the Florida Derby was the right move," trainer Kelly Breen said.

West Side Bernie continues to train forwardly for his next start. He worked a bullet half-mile in 47.60 seconds at Palm Meadows on Thursday.

"Everything looks to be in good order with him at the moment," Breen said. "We are just waiting to see how things shake out with the Fountain of Youth and our other 3-year-old, Atomic Rain, before making a decision on where he'll run next. It will either be the Lane's End at Turfway [March 21] or the Florida Derby [March 28]."

Atomic Rain, who like West Side Bernie is owned by George and Lori Hall, turned in a disappointing effort when finishing far back in the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa earlier this month.

"He came back like he didn't even run, so I'm just going to throw that race out and move on," Breen said. "I entered him in an extra race for Saturday that did not fill, but hopefully there'll be a couple of races for him next weekend. He needs to make more graded money than Bernie, so if all goes well with his next start, then I'd probably be inclined to run him in the Florida Derby and Bernie in the Lane's End."

Hello Broadway on target for Tampa Derby

Hello Broadway, who also passed the Fountain of Youth, worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.20 seconds here Thursday, after which trainer Barclay Tagg confirmed he remains on target for the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby on March 14.

Tagg also said Tale of Ekati would bypass the Gulfstream Park Handicap and make his next start in the seven-furlong Carter at Aqueduct. Tale of Ekati finished fourth as the even-money favorite in the Grade 2 Richter Scale in his 2009 debut here Feb. 14.

* Andy Geranis, a longtime owner and breeder on the south Florida circuit, died earlier this week. Geranis and his wife, Lucille, owned and raced the multiple stakes winner Sir Leon. Sir Leon is best known as the sire of the multiple Grade 1 winner Sir Bear, who earned more than $2 million during his racing career.