10/21/2007 11:00PM

Tale of Ekati puts pedal down

EmailELMONT, N.Y. - It was, both literally and figuratively, unseasonably warm at Belmont Park on Monday. On a balmly morning, Tale of Ekati, in his final work for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Saturday at Monmouth Park, burned up the track. And after the drill, steam was coming out of the ears of Barclay Tagg, who trains Tale of Ekati.

Rather than give the rote "it was just what we wanted" quote, Tagg was candid after Tale of Ekati scorched through a half-mile in 45.79 seconds under jockey Eibar Coa, who has ridden Tale of Ekati to both of his victories, including last month's Belmont Futurity.

"He went way, way, way too fast," Tagg said at his Belmont Park barn. "That wasn't in the plans. That wasn't what he was supposed to do."

Tale of Ekati worked alone, and was flying from the start. He was going so fast so soon that Tagg's assistant, Robin Smullen, maneuvered to the middle of the track near the finish line with her stable pony - Funny Cide - and placed her left hand high in the air, signaling Coa to slow down as soon as he turned into the stretch.

He never looked up.

"He was supposed to go in 48 and change, 49," Tagg said. "I just wanted a little blowout, and then gallop out another eighth of a mile."

Asked what he said to Coa after work, Tagg replied, "Can't anyone do anything right anymore?"

Tale of Ekati should be one of the top betting choices in the Juvenile, whose ranks thinned on Sunday when trainer Bill Mott said that Majestic Warrior, the winner of the Hopeful Stakes, would miss the race with an injury to his left front hoof.

Majestic Warrior most recently was a disappointing sixth in the Champagne Stakes. Mott had been closely monitoring Majestic Warrior following the Champagne, because, until this injury surfaced, he could not find an explanation for the colt's dull effort. Mott gave Majestic Warrior an easy workout here on Thursday, and believes that helped bring the problem to the fore.

"He has some hoof wall separation," Mott said. "It's underneath the hoof wall. I'm 95 percent confident this is what we were looking for, and he did enough the other day that we were able to discover it. It's similar to a quarter crack, except it's in the toe instead of the heel."

Mott said that if Majestic Warrior recovers quickly, he could still be considered for the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct or the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs next month.

Mott has another prospect for the Juvenile, Z Humor, but he worked poorly while in company with the 2-year-old filly Sunday Holiday on Monday at Belmont. Z Humor covered five furlongs in 1:00.13, but was losing ground late while under pressure and switching leads.

At Keeneland on Monday, both Kodiak Kowboy (50.40 seconds) and Pyro (50.60) worked a half-mile on Polytrack for trainer Steve Asmussen, and Slew's Tiznow went five furlongs in 58.80for Francois Parisel, who will be the trainer of record for Patrick Biancone's Breeders' Cup horses.

On Sunday, Salute the Sarge worked five furlongs in 1:02.20 at Hollywood Park for trainer Eric Guillot, and Globalization went five furlongs in 1:00.23 at Aqueduct for trainer Rick Violette Jr.