08/30/2008 12:00AM

Timber Reserve back to his old self


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Nearly one year after his biggest win, Timber Reserve finally picked up his next win.

Plagued by foot problems since winning the Pennsylvania Derby last Labor Day, Timber Reserve returned to the winner's circle Friday at Saratoga, winning a third-level allowance race by 1 1/2 lengths over favored Extreme Supreme. He ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.17 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 99.

Timber Reserve had run just twice since winning the Pennsylvania Derby. He finished 10th in the Hal's Hope at Gulfstream in January and ninth in the Whitney here on July 26. He had problems with the bottom part of his feet known as the frog, and it required him to wear special shoes. Trainer John Kimmel was able to go back to regular shoes on Friday, and the horse ran a much-improved race.

"We took off the combat shoes he was wearing and put on the P.F. Flyers," Kimmel said.

Kimmel said Timber Reserve came out of his victory in good order and was going to consider two races for his next start: the Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont on Sept. 27 or the Grade 2, $350,000 Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Park the same day.

Kimmel said the Kentucky Cup Classic is intriguing because it is run over a synthetic surface. This year's Breeders' Cup is being held at Santa Anita, which also has a synthetic surface.

"If he runs up to expectations, you could go to California for the big one," Kimmel said.

Kimmel won three races on Friday's card, a first for him at Saratoga, he said. On Saturday he won his fourth consecutive race when Freedom Bay took the seventh race.

Will Phipps goes out on his own

Will Phipps, who worked as an assistant trainer to Bill Mott for five years, has gone out on his own, taking over a string of horses owned by Halsey Minor that includes the Grade 1-winning filly Dream Rush.

Currently, Phipps - no relation to the philanthropic Phipps family - has just two horses stabled here, but is expecting some more in the coming weeks.

Phipps, 36, had left Mott's employment in April to spend some time with his family. Phipps's sister was a schoolmate of Debbie Easter, who is a bloodstock agent for Minor. Minor wanted to consolidate his horses with one trainer and chose to give Phipps a chance. Rick Violette had previously trained Dream Rush.

"It was an opportunity presented to me that was hard to turn down," Phipps said Saturday morning as he gave Dream Rush a bath. "I could only hope to do half as well as Rick and his team did with the filly. The Minors were just looking for a change. Halsey is a guy that has great vision, he loves horses. He wants to try a few different things. Thankfully, he's asked me to be involved in this. It's a real honor. I only hope I can do well for him."

Dream Rush, a 4-year-old daughter of Wild Rush, won the Grade 1 Test and Grade 1 Prioress last year. In two starts this year, she finished second in the Vagrancy and third in the Princess Rooney.

Having been on the job less than a week, Phipps said he needs some time to evaluate Dream Rush before mapping out her next start.

"We'll let her tell us what she wants to do and go from there," said Phipps, who also worked for trainers Tom Voss and Jimmy Day. "I imagine she'll work here in a few days."

The other horse Phipps has is an unstarted 2-year-old son of More Than Ready. Among the horses he's expected to get is Fierce Wind, who won the Sam Davis at Tampa in February. He has not run since finishing 10th in the Florida Derby in March.

Spring Waltz preps for Ruffian

Spring Waltz, who has scratched out of more races recently than she has run, worked six furlongs in 1:15.48 Saturday morning in preparation for a start in next Saturday's Grade 1 Ruffian at Belmont Park.

Spring Waltz was entered but scratched from both the Go for Wand and Personal Ensign at this meet, as her stablemate, Ginger Punch, won both of those races. Spring Waltz has not run since finishing fourth in the $1 million Delaware Park Handicap on July 13. Before that, Spring Waltz had won four consecutive races, including the Grade 2 Rampart at Gulfstream Park in March.

Spring Waltz, owned by Frank Stronach and trained by Bobby Frankel, will be taking on the Bob Baffert-trained duo of Indian Blessing and Tough Tiz's Sis as well as Boca Grande, Santa Teresita and Stage Luck in the 1 1/16-mile Ruffian.

* The 2-year-old Charitable Man, an 11 1/4-length debut winner here on Aug. 10, worked four furlongs in 48.15 seconds on Saturday. It was the fastest of 18 drills at the distance. Charitable Man is being pointed to the Grade 2, $250,000 Futurity at Belmont on Sept. 13.