10/26/2004 12:00AM

Sprinter Bwana Charlie turns heads


The Jerkens family, Allen and Jimmy, accounted for most of the major action at Lone Star Park on Tuesday morning, sending out all three of their Breeders' Cup hopefuls to work before daybreak under the lights. It was trainer Steve Asmussen's Bwana Charlie, however, who stole the show with his eye-catching half-mile trial following the renovation break.

The morning also produced the first local looks at some of the recent arrivals, including likely Breeders' Cup favorites Pleasantly Perfect (Classic) and Sweet Catomine (Juvenile Fillies).

Heavy rain the previous evening left plenty of moisture behind by the time the racetrack opened at 5:30 a.m., with the track officially listed as muddy throughout the training session. The turf course was scheduled to be available for training between 7:30 and 8 but remained closed because of the wet weather.


Cloudy, 73 degrees
Main track muddy

Bwana Charlie, Sprint, four furlongs, 47.28: Benefited from a track that had been harrowed three times during the renovation break, and turned in the work of the day. One would expect any member of the Sprint lineup to work fast, but he did it the right way, loping through an extremely slow opening furlong in 13.34 before barreling home full of run, with fractions of 11.09 for the final furlong and an even more incredible 22.44 for the final quarter without the need of any urging. He did pull himself up rather abruptly once passing the wire, but looks grand and should be ready for a big effort over his adopted home track.

Society Selection, Distaff, seven furlongs, 1:26.46: The first of trainer Allen Jerkens's pair to work. She was ridden by jockey Shannon Uske, who was also aboard the Jerkens's Bowman's Band and son Jimmy's Artie Schiller later in the morning.

Society Selection backed up just past the finish line and was ready for action the moment Uske swung her around and headed off toward the seven-furlong pole. As a result, she was in high gear right off the bat, cutting out fractions of 23.80 seconds and 35.56 for the opening quarter and three furlongs. She continued along at a lively clip while nearly hugging the inner rail turning for home, but tired just a bit under some light urging down the stretch, covering her final quarter-mile in a disappointing 26.45 before galloping out a mile in 1:39.46.

Artie Schiller, Mile, five furlongs, 59.85: Was originally scheduled to work over the turf Wednesday. Took a long run to the pole to begin his drill and went his opening furlong in a fast 11.70. He settled in nicely once entering the turn, then switched to another gear and displayed a quick turn of foot when set down by Uske coming out of the turn, completing his final quarter in 23.68 while under considerable urging near the end. He did shut down rather abruptly once passing the wire, galloping out six furlongs in a slow 1:14.69. All in all, an effective move for a turf horse working over a main track with considerable moisture content.

Bowman's Band, Classic/Mile, one mile, 1:39.70: Worked a somewhat unconventional mile, breaking off and then working back around to the 7 1/2-furlong pole. Breezed along at an even clip to the stretch, cutting out fractions of 24.54, 36.59, 48.64, and 1:01.26. Appeared to tire slightly while under mild urging down the stretch, completing his final furlong in 13.16 before galloping out 1 1/8 miles in 1:54.89. Not a bad work over a chewed up, muddy surface, but certainly not good enough to change his status as one of the outsiders in the Classic field.


Main track fast

Funny Cide, Classic, four furlongs, 46.87: Funny Cide, who will enter the Classic off a victory in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, took to the Belmont main track Tuesday morning and breezed a half-mile. "Funny Cide is doing better than he ever has in his life," said trainer Barclay Tagg.

Clocker's notes

Birdstone was the first of the Breeders' Cup horses to hit the racetrack, coming out shortly before 6:30 to jog a slow mile. Would like to see him a bit more on his toes only four days out from the race.

Defending Classic champion Pleasantly Perfect, on the other hand, showed a lot more enthusiasm during a lively one-mile jog. It was his first visit to Lone Star since arriving from California on Monday.

Roses in May continues to thrive and had another good day. Looks the picture of health.

Japanese invader Personal Rush, a 3-year-old candidate for the Classic, had the busiest morning of any Breeders' Cup contender. Easy to spot in his bright pink blinkers and pink earmuffs, he wasted little time getting into action, breaking off almost immediately after walking onto the track from the six-furlong gap. After briefly trying to run off with assistant trainer Ken Ando, Personal Rush settled into a comfortable stride and galloped two miles at slightly slower than a two-minute lick. He proceeded to jog an additional mile upon completing his gallop, left the track briefly, then returned and walked another half-mile to the paddock, where he spent several minutes schooling before mercifully being allowed to return to the barn and call it a day.