07/26/2006 11:00PM

Teddy Drone target for Valid Video

Cotton Blossom, winning the Schuylerville at Saratoga, is now 2 for 2.

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Valid Video worked six furlongs in 1:13 on Wednesday at Monmouth in preparation for his comeback Aug. 6 in the Teddy Drone Stakes.

It has been a long, frustrating road for trainer Dennis Manning. Valid Video was among the leading 3-year-old sprinters in 2003, when he won the Grade 1 King's Bishop at Saratoga, but he has run only five times since competing in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Sprint, in which he tore a sacroiliac muscle, located in the lower back.

"It didn't knit right," Manning said. "Now, fortunately, we're in good shape."

Valid Video last ran in January in the Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream Park, finishing seventh at 42-1.

"I didn't have him 100 percent and he only got beat five lengths," Manning said. "Then he got sick and I lost all that time.

"He's doing okay," Manning said. "If everything goes all right and he breezes well on Wednesday, I'll run him on Haskell Day in the Teddy Drone Stakes. I would prefer to run him in an easier spot, but there aren't any."

The Teddy Drone is normally a very tough spot, especially for a horse who has not run in a long time, but Manning said he is confident that Valid Video will be ready.

"I'll have him as right as you can have a horse coming off a long layoff," Manning said.

Monmouth horses shine at Spa

A pair of fillies with Monmouth Park connections finished one-two in the Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, the opening day feature Wednesday at Saratoga.

Cotton Blossom, who won her maiden here June 16, got the victory for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Desire to Excel, from the barn of Monmouth's leading trainer Kelly Breen, was a hard-luck second. The 7-5 favorite following her win in Belmont's Astoria Stakes, Desire to Excel stumbled badly out of the gate and tore her left-front shoe half off.

"It was a tough break," Breen said Thursday morning at his Monmouth barn. "She ran a game race. We'll go over her good today. She's got some aches and pains, and we'll see how she looks in a couple of days."

Town Council steps up for Rumson

The $60,000 Rumson Stakes for 3-year-olds at six furlongs is the supporting feature Saturday.

Town Council, who won a first-level allowance under Joe Bravo here June 25, is back in a stakes for the first time since finishing fourth in the Cowdin at Belmont Park last October.

"He ran well, and he's been training well," said trainer Ben Perkins Jr. "Joey Bravo likes him a lot."

Town Council finds himself in a tough spot.

"It was either face older horses in a second-level allowance or try a stakes," Perkins said.

He's Got Grit is back at Monmouth, where he has always run well. He swept the Monmouth 2-year-old stakes last season, winning the Tyro and the Grade 3 Sapling. Most recently, He's Got Grit was a distant third behind Henny Hughes in the Grade 3 Jersey Shore Breeders' Cup Stakes.

Flirtatious Smile is undefeated in three starts, all coming at this meet against New Jersey-breds. The Rumson will be his stakes debut.

Trainer Mike Hushion will shorten up River City Rebel, most recently a game second at Belmont in a second-level allowance race at one mile.

As often happens in the region, Monmouth stakes faces competition on the same day. Delaware Park offers the $54,000 Oh Say Stakes for 3-year-olds at six furlongs. Put Back the Shu, Valid Brush, and Clinton Harbor Md were entered in both the Rumson and the Oh Say.

* Jose Lezcano won four races on Wednesday to tighten the jockey race. Bravo, who leads the standings and is biding for a 12th title, responded with a four-win performance Thursday.