07/09/2007 12:00AM

Top 3-year-olds gearing up again

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Reed Palmer Photography
Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense and rider Calvin Borel exit the track after a sharp workout on Sunday morning at Churchill Downs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The spring meet ended Sunday evening at Churchill Downs, but racing news was still being made the following morning.

Curlin worked in company with his undefeated stablemate Tiz Wonderful early Monday over a fast Churchill strip. They join Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, who worked the previous morning at Churchill, in signaling an impending shift of scenery as major races for 3-year-olds on the East Coast - the Jim Dandy, Haskell, and ultimately the Travers - draw closer.

Curlin and Tiz Wonderful breezed six furlongs in 1:12.80 a little less than 24 hours after Street Sense breezed five furlongs in 1:00.40.

Curlin and Street Sense are the consensus leaders in an unusually strong 3-year-old division, along with the standout filly Rags to Riches, who also happened to work Sunday, breezing an easy five furlongs in 1:04 at Belmont Park.

In their work on Monday, Curlin, the Preakness winner, permitted Tiz Wonderful about a two-length head start as the pair wheeled out of the clubhouse turn toward the three-quarter pole entering the backstretch. By the wire, Curlin, with regular jockey Robby Albarado up, had edged narrowly ahead while Tiz Wonderful, ridden by exercise rider Carmen Rosas, was working hard to stay abreast. They galloped out seven furlongs in 1:25.80.

"I think it was an excellent work," said Steve Asmussen, who trains both colts. " 'Tiz' blew quite a bit, which he needed."

Curlin will be heavily favored in the Aug. 5 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.

Asmussen is hoping to run Tiz Wonderful, who has yet to race at 3 after impressive triumphs in all three starts at 2, in the July 29 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga, the same race that trainer Carl Nafzger is targeting for Street Sense. All three, along with - quite possibly - Rags to Riches, have the Aug. 25 Travers at Saratoga as their next major goal.

Curlin, Tiz Wonderful, and many of the top Asmussen horses are scheduled to leave Kentucky for Saratoga on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Nafzger said the Sunday work by Street Sense was yet another ideal drill. With regular rider Calvin Borel aboard, the colt galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.60 after proceeding through the work in even fractions.

"Every time I watch him, he surprises me," said Nafzger. "I keep thinking I'm dreaming in between them, then I watch him work and he does it again."

Street Sense will work here once more before leaving for Saratoga around July 21, Nafzger said.