08/26/2007 11:00PM

T.J.'s Posse brings Virginia form


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Dreaming of Anna wound up the champion 2-year-old filly in 2006, and along the way she made a stop at Colonial Downs, winning the Tippett Stakes on turf. So, there's no reason to scoff at the chances of T.J.'s Posse on Saturday in the Arlington-Washington Futurity, even though his most recent start came in Virginia at Colonial.

Trainer Steve Asmussen had several horses nominated to the Futurity, and selected T.J.'s Posse as his representative, but up at Saratoga, trainer Bill Mott still was weighing his options. Mott, who sent Got the Last Laugh to a dead-heat win in the race last year, said he planned to start a horse for the Futurity, and also said that one of his nominees, Always a Believer, was out of consideration. That leaves Riley Tucker, who was third last out in the Saratoga Special, and Z Humor, a sharp Saratoga debut winner, as Mott's prospective starters.

"I wish I could figure out which one could run on that track," Mott said early Monday afternoon, referring to the Arlington Polytrack. "Transportation, too, I've got to figure that out. I'm working on all of it right now."

T.J.'s Posse, meanwhile, won a $30,000 maiden claimer at Churchill in his career debut, then captured a Virginia-bred stakes in his most recent start. He is by Posse, who has rocketed off to an excellent start at stud and is the sire of the Asmussen-trained Kodiak Kowboy, one of the country's leading 2-year-olds.

"We've had some luck stretching some of the Posses out," Asmussen said.

The way things are shaping up, Texas invader Gold Coyote could wind up the favorite in the one-mile Grade 3 Futurity, in which Street Sense finished third last year.

Texas Fever impresses in maiden win

Texas Fever won't be racing in the Futurity, but he looked like a 2-year-old colt to follow winning a maiden race by almost six lengths Saturday. Texas Fever's six-furlong time of 1:10.23 was 1.36 seconds faster than the winning time in the second division of the split maiden race.

Texas Fever debuted in a 4 1/2-furlong race here June 2, finishing a very troubled fourth. Back in a one-mile maiden race Aug. 4, Texas Fever was a fading fourth as the 2-1 favorite, but might merely have been a short horse that day.

"He didn't get anything out of that first race, and then he didn't run in two months," trainer Mike Stidham said. "We put plenty in him, but he might not have been tight enough to get a mile last time. We definitely think he'll get the distance."

Stidham said the Texas Fever could run back in Kentucky, perhaps in a stakes race, though specific plans haven't yet been made. Texas Fever is a Stonerside Stable homebred by Victory Gallop.

Torres suspended after alcohol test

Less than a month after coming back from a long absence during which he spent time at a rehabilitation center, jockey Francisco Torres is gone again. Torres, the talented but troubled Chicagoan, has been suspended by Arlington stewards and ruled off Illinois racetracks for violating his "signed 2007 licensing agreement," according to the ruling issued by the stewards. Randy Romero, who was acting as Torres's agent, confirmed that Torres had tested positive for alcohol. Torres had won five races, including an overnight stakes, since returning to the saddle.

Razo returns to saddle

Eddie Razo, who was off his mounts all last week after a spill last Wednesday morning, said he worked three horses Monday and would return to riding Wednesday. Razo bruised a knee when he fell while breezing a horse, and though he hoped to be back over the weekend, the injury prevented him from riding.

"I was named on nine horses Saturday, and I was tempted to ride, but I was like, 'Man, it's just too much,'" Razo said.

Ocampo targeting Hawthorne return

Israel Ocampo, who was kicked in the face by a horse after his mount broke down during a race two weeks ago, is out of the hospital, and his agent, Jodie Sinclair, said Ocampo hopes to be ready for the opening of Hawthorne later in September.

Ocampo's face was seriously injured in his spill, and he has had surgery to repair his nose, cheekbone, and jaw. Monday, Sinclair said, Ocampo was to have the teeth knocked out by the kick replaced.

"He's doing good," said Sinclair, who added that Ocampo hadn't suffered any other injuries that would prevent him from retaining his fitness to ride.

* Two veteran Chicago trainers, Mickey Goldfine and Bobby Springer, both ended meet-long dry spells here Saturday. Goldfine won the first race with Irish Accent. Springer won race 7 with Buddha Calling.

* Dreaming of Liz, prepping for a start in the Aug. 8 Arlington-Washington Lassie, worked five furlongs in a bullet 59 seconds on Monday morning.