02/16/2008 12:00AM

Take the Ribbon gives Tagg a scare


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Take the Ribbon gave trainer Barclay Tagg more to worry about after she won Friday's featured eighth race than during the running of the high-priced optional claiming race on the turf.

Making her first start since being transferred to Tagg's barn in December, Take the Ribbon rallied to victory under leading rider Eibar Coa in her local debut. But she began to show some signs of distress upon pulling up on the backstretch, forcing Coa to dismount.

Take the Ribbon was treated immediately for heat prostration by track veterinarian Dr. Mary Scollay and was able to walk back to her barn. By Saturday morning, she appeared none the worse for wear.

"She's fine this morning," said assistant trainer Robin Smullen in the absence of Tagg, who was en route to Tampa Bay Downs to saddle Big Truck later that afternoon in the Sam F. Davis Stakes. "She got a little hot in the post parade and it seems like she just had a little heat-related stress after the race. But she cooled out fine once getting back to the barn and licked her feed tub clean last night and again this morning."

Take the Ribbon, a 5-year-old daughter of Chester House, had been trained earlier in her career by Wally Dollase, for whom she won the Grade 3 Distaff Turf Mile last spring in Kentucky and finished second in the Grade 1 Garden City Breeders' Cup at 3.

Take the Ribbon is owned by her breeder, Eurowest Bloodstock Services.

"She's already a graded stakes winner, so the goal this year with her will be to win a Grade 1 race, although I'm not sure where she'll run next," Smullen said. "I guess after Friday's episode, the key will be to try to find a way to keep her a little more relaxed."

Smullen also reported that Tagg's top two 3-year-old prospects, Tale of Ekati and Elysium Fields, are both doing well. Tale of Ekati is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in the Louisiana Derby on March 8, while Elysium Fields is pointing for the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth here Sunday.

Tale of Ekati turned in a bullet five-furlong drill in 59 seconds at Palm Meadows on Thursday. Tagg had said following his previous work that the colt was not quite where he wanted him.

"He had a great work the other day and is back on schedule now," Smullen said.

Elysium Fields will work here Monday in his final prep for the Fountain of Youth.

"This horse has improved six months in the last three weeks," Smullen said of Elysium Fields. "He's put on 50 pounds, mostly muscle, since his last race, and if he improves as much in the Fountain of Youth as he did in his last start, he'll belong in that race."

Anak Nakal, War Pass work

Anak Nakal, who figures to go postward among the favorites in the Fountain of Youth along with Court Vision and Monba, had his final tune-up for his 3-year-old bow Saturday when he worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 at Palm Meadows.

Stablemate and reigning 2-year-old champion War Pass also turned in what may be his final work prior to his return to action, expected to come in an allowance race next weekend, going six furlongs in 1:13.20 at Palm Meadows.

The bullet on the Palm Meadows work tab at six furlongs, however, belonged to Adriano, another prospective Fountain of Youth starter. Adriano covered the distance in 1:12.60 in preparation for his first race over conventional dirt Sunday.

Eaton's Gift drills toward Gotham

Eaton's Gift, hero of the 6 1/2-furlong Grade 2 Swale Stakes on Feb. 2, worked a half-mile in 48.60 seconds here Saturday, much to the approval of trainer Dale Romans.

"We galloped him a mile and he eased right into the work and finished strong," Romans said. "We want to put a lot of air into him. We want to build him up."

Eaton's Gift will make his next start going 1 1/16 miles in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct on March 8.

Annabill heads starter allowance

Annabill, who reeled off three consecutive stakes victories at Calder during the fall, has found herself a pretty cozy spot Monday when she faces $16,000 starter-allowance opposition on the turf. Annabill was claimed for $25,000 by trainer Milt Wolfson for his N T S Stable Inc. in August 2006. She had started under a $16,000 claiming tag two months earlier.

"It's the only spot I could find," Wolfson said. "I didn't want to bring her back in a graded stakes. She's doing so well I didn't want her to get hurt training, so this race will help me get her going again."

Ghostzapper's little brother wins

Lion Lord, a half-brother to 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper, won his career debut here Saturday, getting up in the final strides to best Hombresactlikemens in a seven furlong maiden special weight dash. Lion Lord, a 4-year-old son of Mr. Greeley, is owned by Stronach Stable and trained by Brian Lynch, and was guided to victory by Ghostzapper's regular rider Javier Castellano.