Updated on 09/16/2011 7:44AM

Stephentown, Grey Beard getting down to business


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Stephentown and Grey Beard, who earned their way into the Grade 1 Fountain of Youth Stakes by winning split divisions of a preliminary allowance race Jan. 9, began getting a bit more serious for their next assignment when breezing easy half-miles on Saturday morning.

Stephentown, working shortly after dawn, went four furlongs in a leisurely 52.60 seconds, while Grey Beard, with jockey Edgar Prado aboard, was well within himself covering the same distance in 49.40 seconds two hours later.

Stephentown gained attention after overcoming a tough trip to win his 3-year-old debut by five widening lengths under Pat Day. It was the second consecutive victory for Stephentown, a son of Wild Again, who is trained by Anthony Reinstedler and owned by the Willmott Stables.

"I just wanted him to go slow and easy and let him stretch his legs a bit," said Reinstedler. "He went super and cooled out full of energy. I've got a lot of time between races and right now I just want to keep him happy and relaxed. He won't do anything faster than about 1:02 for five-eighths for the Fountain of Youth. He's still got a lot of learning and growing to do."

Reinstedler also said he is pleased and a bit flattered by all the attention his horse has received since his last victory.

"Everybody is looking for a big horse whose bandwagon they can jump on for the Triple Crown," said Reinstedler. "It's a compliment to be the one a lot of people have picked. I have a lot of confidence in this horse and the jock [Pat Day] has a lot of confidence in this horse. I just hope he lives up to everyone's expectations."

Graham Motion, who trains Grey Beard for owner George Brunacini, agreed with Reinstedler that there's still plenty of time until the Fountain of Youth and for now slow is the way to go in preparation for the race.

"I worked him on his own this morning so he wouldn't do too much," said Motion. "He's not really an aggressive work horse anyway. I'll do something a little more serious with him next time."

Grey Beard added blinkers for his Jan. 9 race and ran down 3-5 favorite Monthir, covering 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.90, .22 seconds faster than Stephentown ran earlier on the card. It was Grey Beard's second victory in four starts.

"Obviously his next race will be a big gauge, although I still don't want him completely cranked up next time either," said Motion. "I really think the longer distances, especially the 1 1/8 miles of the Florida Derby, are really going to suit him best."

High Star Fountain of Youth possible

High Star is a potential candidate for the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby after defeating a strong group of preliminary allowance rivals going 1 1/16 miles in his 3-year-old debut here Saturday. The 2 3/4-length win was High Star's first race since finishing third to Repent in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes two months ago.

"I was really pleased to see him come back and win, especially over a track that is on the heavy side," said his trainer, Nick Zito. "He's a nice horse. He showed his class as a 2-year-old and I think he's really got a future."

Zito said he will consider his options for High Star, owned by Buckram Oak Stable, including the Grade 1 Fountain of Youth on Feb. 16.

"We'll see how things go," said Zito. "You know I like to take it slow with my 3-year-olds this time of year with the only race to really think about being the big one [Florida Derby]."

* White Flame, purchased privately by the Doubledown Stable and turned over to trainer Niall O'Callaghan following his 2-year-old finale at Calder, returned quick dividends and also earned possible consideration for the Fountain of Youth after outlasting Say No Maw to win a two-other-than allowance race for 3-year-olds on Saturday's card.

Tubrok favored

Tubrok, who like High Star carries the colors of the Buckram Oak Stable, will be favored when he returns to the allowance ranks in Monday's main event.

Tubrok, who is trained by Bill Mott, finished a disappointing 10th after encountering early trouble in the Grade 2 Appleton Handicap on Jan. 5. He will be seeking his first victory since defeating allowance company at Keeneland in April. His main competition should include Serazzo, who was scratched out of last Saturday's Mac Diarmida Handicap for Monday's softer spot.

Macho Uno breezes three furlongs

Macho Uno continues moving toward his 2002 debut, as trainer Joe Orseno sent him out for an easy three-furlong breeze Saturday.

"He went in 37 [seconds] and galloped out a half in 50," said Orseno. "It shouldn't take him long to get ready, although I'm not sure when he'll make his first start."

Orseno received some good news later in the day when jockey agent Ron Anderson confirmed that his rider, Jerry Bailey, would take the call on Red Bullet in the Donn Handicap on Feb. 9.

Drama Critic works

Drama Critic, an impressive winner of a four-other-than optional claiming allowance race on the turf two weeks ago, worked a half in 51.40 seconds over the main track on Saturday. Trainer Mark Hennig remains uncertain of what's in store next for the turf specialist. Drama Critic, who finished third in the Grade 1 Man o' War during the fall of 2000, is on the comeback trail having started just twice since finishing fourth in the Grade 2 Pan American Handicap in March.

"I have no definite plans as of yet," Henning said, "although I will nominate him and take a look at the Gulfstream Breeders' Cup" on Feb. 16.

* Pisces, upset winner of the Grade 2 Appleton Handicap three weeks ago, worked five furlongs in 1:01.80 Saturday, preparing for his next start, the Canadian Turf Handicap Feb. 23.