10/10/2002 11:00PM

Touch Tone wants BC shot


CHICAGO - Most Feared logged a strong workout Thursday at Arlington, his second-to-last breeze before a start in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, but he is not the only horse owner Tom Durant and trainer Ronny Werner hope to start in the World Thoroughbred Championships. Werner said Friday that the star-crossed Touch Tone, fresh off a third-place finish to Xtra Heat in the Phoenix Breeders' Cup at Keeneland, was being pointed to the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Since the Grade 3 Phoenix was Touch Tone's first race of the year, the colt probably will be left out of the Sprint if the race oversubscribes. "I don't know if he'll have the points to get into it, but we're going to try," Werner said.

Touch Tone's formidable talent may be matched by the physical problems he has battled throughout his career. Touch Tone didn't make the races until the spring of his 3-year-old season, but quickly showed top-level ability and nearly upset Point Given in the Grade 1 Haskell.

Nagging leg injures took Touch Tone out of training last fall, and Werner struggled just to get Touch Tone back into a regular exercise regimen this year, but as his training progressed through the summer, Touch Tone began responding positively. "After all his works coming up to this race he's been super," Werner said.

Werner decided Touch Tone could win the Phoenix only if he pressured Xtra Heat early in the race, so jockey Robby Albarado pushed Touch Tone onto the pace out of the gate, and he wound up leading through a quarter mile in 21.40 seconds. Outrun on the second half of the turn and into the stretch, Touch Tone came back again in the final sixteenth and finished better than a horse who has backed out of an early speed duel usually does.

"I thought he ran big for a year and a month off," Werner said. "He hit a little bit of a dead spot when he wasn't quite able to maintain that pace. But he's got to be better off after that race."

Meanwhile, Most Feared's work of 1:14.20 was timed for six furlongs, but might have been something closer to a mile because of the way the colt began the breeze. "I was real pleased with his work," said Werner. "He knocked the bottom out of his feed tub last night, and that's what you look for."

Most Feared and Touch Tone will continue training at Arlington up to the Breeders' Cup.

Sky Mesa will get one local work

Kentucky-based trainer John Ward recently took a scouting trip to Arlington, observing the track conditions here as he decides when to ship Sky Mesa from Lexington to Chicago for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Winner of the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland in his last start, the unbeaten Sky Mesa will be one of the favorites in the Juvenile. Ward said he expects to ship Sky Mesa here sometime in the middle of next week, with the intention of giving the colt his final Juvenile work over the Arlington surface.

"I think that a work over the track would be our fundamental goal," Ward said Friday. Also, Ward said he would not mind getting out of Lexington, which has been inundated with rain the last several days. Sky Mesa, Ward said, has only walked under tack in the shed row the last two mornings.

"With three weeks between races, that's not a big concern," said Ward.

Ward said that Snow Dance, second in the WinStar Galaxy in her most recent start, would not be pointed to the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare turf. "She'll be 5 next year, and she should be completely mature by then," he said.

Sheer numbers may not be enough

Of the 18 fillies and mares nominated to the Lazer Show Stakes - Arlington's Sunday feature - six are owned by Frank Calabrese and trained by Wayne Catalano. And of those, three were entered Friday in the Lazer Show, a five-furlong turf race that drew 12 entries.

But even with the overwhelming numbers, Calabrese and Catalano, the runaway leading owner and trainer at the meet, still might not have the right horse. Golden Antigua would be the class of this field if she starts, but is better suited to longer distances and drew poorly in post 11. Red Mimi also prefers grass routes, while Concernina simply might not be good enough.

"I don't know what we're going to do yet," Catalano said Friday.

In any case, Catalano and Calabrese already have seen enough of My Girl Lisa, the horse to beat in the Lazer Show. She's the filly who beat their Sherry Spinner in a five-furlong turf allowance here Sept. 14, and as a turf-dash specialist with an obvious affinity for the Arlington course, My Girl Lisa should have a major impact in Sunday's race.

Also deserving of consideration are Shy Dory and Twin Set. Making her first start outside Argentina, Shy Dory closed strongly and was third to My Girl Lisa in her last start, and while Twin Set failed to fire that day, she has California form that makes her very competitive with these horses.

* Like many other tracks around the country, Arlington will play host to a Columbus Day program Monday.