03/23/2009 11:00PM

Theregoesjojo goes smoothly in slop


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Theregoesjojo may have been a day late but he won't be a furlong short when he takes on Dunkirk and Quality Road in Saturday's Grade 1 Florida Derby.

Trainer Ken McPeek had to postpone Theregoesjojo's final Florida Derby workout for 24 hours after heavy rain left the Gulfstream Park main track a sea of slop on Saturday morning. But after watching his horse breeze six furlongs in 1:15.20 and gallop out seven-eighths in 1:30 around the dogs over a slightly less sloppy track on Sunday, McPeek pronounced his Kentucky Derby prospect fit and ready to go for the Florida Derby.

"I was hoping to get a dry track by Sunday and it didn't happen, but that's the way the ball bounces," said McPeek. "And it really didn't matter because the work went well. The most important thing was that he galloped out nicely and he's coming into the race in good order. Everything is falling into place perfectly. Everything's a go on our end. Now it's up to him from here."

Theregoesjojo is coming off a second-place finish behind Quality Road in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on Feb. 20. Theregoesjojo is the only horse to have defeated Quality Road. That came when he scored an impressive 2 3/4-length victory over Quality Road going seven furlongs under allowance conditions earlier in the meet. The 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby will mark Theregoesjojo's first start around two turns.

"I don't think two turns is an issue," said McPeek. "He relaxes well and has a cruising mode."

Striking Dancer out with minor injury

The news wasn't all good out of the McPeek camp over the weekend. The meet's leading trainer, McPeek had planned on running his 3-year-old filly prospect Striking Dancer in Friday's Bonnie Miss, but her name was conspicuous by its absence when entries were drawn for the Grade 2 event on Sunday.

"She came out of her last work with a problem and she's going to be on the shelf for a little while," said McPeek. "We'll just give her some time and you'll see her again later in the year. I'm just sick about it. This is like a kick in the gut for me because I really felt we could win that race."

The Bonnie Miss, a major prep on the road to the Kentucky Oaks, drew a field of only six 3-year-old fillies, led by Justwhistledixie and the undefeated Gatorette.

McPeek, who is deadlocked atop the trainer standings with Todd Pletcher with 25 wins apiece entering Wednesday's program, also said he is contemplating putting Bold Start back on the turf for Saturday's 7 1/2-furlong, Grade 3 Appleton. Bold Start also worked over the sloppy strip on Sunday, recording a bullet half-mile in 48.40 seconds.

"There's an allowance race in the book on the main track for Saturday, but if it doesn't go I may try him in the Appleton," said McPeek. "He's two for four in his career on turf, and seven and one-half is a good number for him."

Bold Start is coming off a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Richter Scale going seven furlongs on the main track on Feb. 14.

This Ones for Phil gets green light for Swale

Trainer Rick Dutrow said he plans on entering This Ones for Phil in Saturday's Grade 3 Swale.

This Ones for Phil, who finished fifth after setting the pace in the Fountain of Youth, injured himself when getting cast in his stall several weeks ago. He worked for the first time since the Fountain of Youth on Monday, going five furlongs in 1:01 with Mario Madrid aboard.

"He went well and Mario said he didn't get tired, so I'm going to enter and probably run him in the Swale," Dutrow said during training hours here Monday. "He's always had a messed-up schedule. He got a quarter crack after the Fountain of Youth, then after going back to training got hurt doing something in his stall. I walked him for five days and jogged him another week after that, but he's a light horse, and coming off a mile race he should be fit enough to go seven furlongs on Saturday."

Dutrow, who just returned from Keeneland, where he oversaw Stardom Bound's work on Sunday, also said he does not plan to enter Danger to Society in the Florida Derby. Danger to Society also worked here Monday, going five furlongs in 1:01.80.

"I don't want to run here if the three favorites are running, and right now that seems to be the case," Dutrow said, referring to Dunkirk, Quality Road, and Theregoesjojo. "I'll look at the Wood and Arkansas Derby for his next start. He went really well this morning and he's ready to roll."

Big Drama set for 3-year-old debut

The Swale figures to come up a short but competitive field and will feature the return of Big Drama, who has not started since winning the Delta Jackpot in his 2-year-old finale. Trainer David Fawkes confirmed that Big Drama would make his 3-year-old debut in the Swale shortly after watching him work an easy half-mile in 49.20 at Calder on Monday.

"He worked phenomenal, did everything perfect," said Fawkes. "He's ready to go on Saturday."

Along with Big Drama and This Ones for Phil, the field for the Swale could also include Beacon Hill Road, Custom for Carlos, Sabi Sabi, and one or both of trainer Nick Zito's duo of Brave Victory and Rocketing Returns.

Notonthesamepage points for Derby Trial

Like This Ones for Phil, Notonthesamepage also had his first work since the Fountain of Youth on Monday when going a half-mile in 48.60 seconds at Gulfstream. Notonthesamepage, impressive winner of the Spectacular Bid on opening day, finished a well-beaten seventh in the Fountain of Youth, after which he was found to have bled.

"He worked awesome and we're still on target for the Derby Trial," Ward said after the work.