08/12/2007 11:00PM

Travers gets Tiz Wonderful instead of Curlin


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Steve Asmussen said he was never planning to run Curlin in the Travers. But on Monday, he removed all doubt saying that the Preakness winner will make his next start in the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont on Sept. 30.

After watching Tiz Wonderful breeze six furlongs in 1:14.22 Monday morning, Asmussen said that horse would run in the Travers.

Asmussen is of the belief that Saratoga's main track does not fit Curlin's style. Also, after running Curlin in all three Triple Crown races, he doesn't want to overrace him in the second half of the year. He chose to run Curlin in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth - where he finished third behind Any Given Saturday - because that's where the Breeders' Cup Classic will be run on Oct. 27. In his one start at Belmont, Curlin was beaten a head by Rags to Riches in the Belmont Stakes.

"The reason the Jockey Club is a lot more attractive to me than the Travers is how well he ran at Belmont,'' Asmussen said Monday morning. "Even without having success, the fact that he ran well over it, he came out of it good and he hasn't run at Saratoga, which isn't exactly kind to most racehorses. I've had horses run down up here that have run several times and never run down, and horses that have bled up here that don't even work on Lasix. That's not an area I'm looking to go into with what I have planned for him at the end of the year.''

Asmussen said Curlin was expected to return to the work tab this week.

Meanwhile, Asmussen was very happy with what he saw from Tiz Wonderful on Monday. Over the Oklahoma training track, Tiz Wonderful came home his last quarter in 23.79 seconds during his six-furlong workout.

"He was sharp and fast; came home beautifully,'' Asmussen said.

Tiz Wonderful suffered his first defeat when he finished last in the Jim Dandy here July 29. He had won all three of his starts at 2, but was sidelined earlier this year with a tendon injury. In the Jim Dandy, he was a bit rank early, throwing his head up in the air three times in the first quarter-mile. He was in the race till the quarter pole when he began to back up.

"He got all wound up before the race," Asmussen said. "C P West broke great and kind of into him, hit his ass, and his head came up a couple of times. None of it was right, but he needed it badly. He came out of it a little feet sensitive and a little body sore, but he worked right on out of it.''

A total of 24 horses were nominated to the Travers. As of Monday, those expected to run included Street Sense, C P West, Sightseeing, Loose Leaf, and Tiz Wonderful. Todd Pletcher nominated seven horses to the Travers, though has said it is "doubtful'' he would run anything.

Security barn mishap results in scratch

Bee Bullish, an unstarted 2-year-old colt, had to be scratched from a maiden race last Saturday after injuring himself in the security barn.

According to trainer Scott Schwartz, who was not there at the time, Bee Bullish got cast in his stall when he spooked from a noise. Schwartz claims the noise was air brakes from a tractor trailer, located 10 feet from the stall Bee Bullish was in. Bee Bullish, along with the other 2-year-olds from that race, were stabled in the temporary stalls which are in a tent and do not have a window.

"He got pretty cut up, he skinned his knee, his tendon,'' Schwartz said. "He's my best 2-year-old. They shouldn't put babies in the tent. It's an accident waiting to happened and it happened to me. You put eight months in getting 'em ready to run and a horse flips out in the detention barn.''

P.J. Campo, the racing secretary, called it an unfortunate incident, but said there are no plans to change protocol in terms of which horses are stabled in which stalls.

"We haven't had any problems in two years,'' Campo said. "A horse can get hurt anywhere. It's unfortunate that happened. There was a 2-year-old to the left of him and a 2-year-old to the right and nothing happened.''

Will He Shine in confidence builder

Will He Shine, winner of the Grade 2 True North on Belmont Stakes Day, will take a step back before he takes on stakes company again, as he runs in a classified allowance race at six furlongs here on Wednesday.

After winning the True North, Will He Shine finished fifth of six in the Grade 2 Tom Fool Breeders' Cup Handicap at Belmont, a race in which he stumbled at the break. Trainer Dale Romans said he believes the horse also regressed in that race.

"We came back a little too quick, he probably needed a little more time,'' Romans said. "I think he'll run big. He's training really good and it's a $78,000 pot.''

Council Member, who finished fourth in the True North, scratched out of Monday's $80,000 Troy Stakes on turf to run in this spot. Call Me Tony and Fleet Valid look like the speed of the field, and could set up things for either Will He Shine or Council Member.

Cotton Blossom retired

Cotton Blossom, winner of the Grade 1 Acorn, has been retired due to injuries suffered in the Test Stakes, in which she finished 10th.

According to Cot Campbell, president of Dogwood Stable, Cotton Blossom sustained "significant damage in the sesamoidian ligaments along with bone chips in her ankle.

"Her future in racing would be very bleak and it is clearly indicated that she be retired.''

Campbell added that Cotton Blossom would be sold at Fasig-Tipton's selected mixed sale on Nov. 4 in Lexington, Ky.

Cotton Blossom, a daughter of Broken Vow went 4-2-2 from 11 starts and earned $724,987. In addition to the Acorn, Cotton Blossom won the Grade 3 Schuylerville and the ungraded Florida Oaks. She was trained by Todd Pletcher.

T.D. Vance wins Troy following long layoff

T.D. Vance, away from the races since last November, was well-prepared by trainer Graham Motion for his seasonal debut as he rallied from just off the pace to win Monday's $81,700 Troy Stakes by three lengths over Mr. Silver.

It was a head back to Silver Timber, under Eibar Coa, who finished third, but was disqualified and placed fifth for interfering with Afrashad in the stretch. T.D. Vance, a son of Rahy, covered 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03.15 under Garrett Gomez and returned $8.60 to win.

T.D. Vance, who won the Grade 2 Hall of Fame Stakes here as a 3-year-old, has now won 7 races from 16 starts. He is owned by Don Adam.

Assistant trainer, valet suspended

Jose Cuevas, the assistant to trainer Bobby Frankel, and Charles McClendon, a valet for jockey Rafael Bejarano, were suspended seven days for failure to follow proper saddling procedures during the fourth race on Aug. 1.

During the saddling of Elisa's Energy, Cuevas and McClendon used the wrong saddle pad, and Elisa's Energy carried 1 1/2 pounds less than she was supposed to carry. Elisa's Energy finished third, but was moved to second via disqualification.

The stewards disqualified Elisa's Energy and ordered her unplaced.