10/02/2006 11:00PM

Straight Faced's work eases concerns


All eyes will be on Straight Faced on Oct. 14, when he goes for a sweep of the Florida Stallion Stakes in the $400,000 In Reality Stakes. On Monday morning, however, the only eyes on Straight Faced that mattered were those of trainer Steve DiMauro, who watched intently as Straight Faced worked six furlongs in 1:16.40 and galloped out seven furlongs in 1:29.82 shortly after the renovation break.

An undefeated 2-year-old, Straight Faced is coming off his toughest race yet, a half-length decision over Villainage in the seven-furlong Affirmed Stakes on Sept. 2. Straight Faced went into the Affirmed with a tender foot, but the injury seems to have healed well in the 3 1/2 weeks since the race.

"I was pleased with the way he went this morning," said DiMauro. "He went off a little slower than I would have liked and he got tired, but he needed the work, and more important, the foot is not giving him any trouble."

DiMauro said Straight Faced would probably come back with a half-mile or five-furlong work next week.

Straight Faced will stretch out around two turns for the first time in the In Realty, a 1 1/16-mile race. His competition is expected to include Villainage, runner-up in the opening two legs of the Stallion Stakes, and Green Vegas, who made his first start at a distance longer than seven furlongs when he won the Foolish Pleasure Stakes on Sept. 23.

Locally based runners should make up most of the In Reality field. Racing secretary Mike Anifantis said Monday that trainer Ken McPeek is considering shipping one of his 2-year-olds in for the race.

Criterium next stop for Cat Tour

Trainer David Braddy said Cat Tour, who was scratched the morning of the Foolish Pleasure, is back in training and will likely make his next start in the $100,000 Criterium Stakes on Oct 14. Cat Tour has won his last two starts, including the one-mile Seacliff Stakes by 10 1/2 lengths on Sept. 2. A son of Tour d'Or, Cat Tour was purchased privately by The White Stable just 48 hours before his scheduled appearance in the Foolish Pleasure.

"He came down with a little cough the morning of the Foolish Pleasure, which is why we scratched," said Braddy. "But he's been back in training and doing fine now."

Cat Tour is not eligible for the Florida Stallion Stakes.

Pomeroy will train up to Cup

Pomeroy, among the leading contenders for the Breeders' Cup Sprint, worked four furlongs in 48.60 seconds from the gate Tuesday, his first work since he upset the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga last month. Trainer Marty Wolfson said he is planning to train Pomeroy into the Breeders' Cup.

"He's an easy horse to get ready, and I'll basically do the same thing with him to get ready for the Sprint as I did to prepare him for the Forego coming off his previous race here, in the Smile, which means a half-mile or five-furlong work from the gate each week the rest of the month," said Wolfson.

Wolfson said his second Breeders' Cup hopeful, Miesque's Approval, was scheduled to ship out Wednesday for Keeneland, where he'll compete Saturday in the Grade 1 Shadwell Mile.

Can't Beat It among derby nominees

Nominations have been released for the six stakes on the undercard for the Festival of the Sun program on Oct. 14, two of which are Grade 3 events: the Calder Derby and the Spend a Buck Handicap.

Wolfson said he will start Can't Beat It in the Calder Derby, a 1 1/8-mile race. Can't Beat It has not run since finishing a late-striding and troubled second behind Union Avenue in the Grade 2 American Derby at Arlington Park on July 22. Can't Beat It was subsequently disqualified from the purse money because of a positive post-race urine test.

Other top names on the nomination list for the Calder Derby include Amigoni and Desert Wheat, who finished third and fourth in the American Derby, and Grade 2 winner Go Between. Both Desert Wheat and Go Between are trained by Bill Mott.

Formal Miss, who snapped a 12-race losing streak last month in the Georgia Peaches Stakes, made it two in a row with a 3 1/2-length triumph in Sunday's Capital Request Stakes. Formal Miss's trainer, Paul Maxwell, returned the following afternoon to register another victory over the turf course with Starlight Serenade. Both horses were ridden by leading jockey Manoel Cruz.

o Entries are being accepted for the Calder Handicapping Challenge, which will be held on Sunday, Oct. 15. Registration closes Oct. 12. The winner of the contest will receive a grand prize of $10,000, and the top three finishers qualify for the 2007 Daily Racing Form/National Throughbred Racing Association National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas on Jan. 26 and 27. Churchill Downs Inc. will also offer a $1 million bonus to any handicapper who wins a CDI qualifying tournament and goes on to capture first place in the NHC.