08/19/2008 12:00AM

Tres Borrachos seeks dirt success

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Throughout the spring, Colonel John was considered the leader of Southern California's 3-year-old division. But Tres Borrachos may have taken over that role by beating Colonel John in last month's Grade 2 Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park.

Both 3-year-olds were expected to arrive in Saratoga on Wednesday for Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million Travers Stakes. On Tuesday, Tres Borrachos worked four furlongs in 48.80 seconds over the synthetic surface at Hollywood Park under exercise rider Patrick Dalton.

"Worked very well, was happy with his work, that's what we wanted - a little easy half," trainer and one-third owner Beau Greely said.

Aside from the Preakness, where he stumbled at the start and lost all chance, Tres Borrachos had been a pace factor in his three races before the Swaps. However, in the Swaps, Tres Borrachos came from third position, shooting through an opening along the rail en route to a 1 1/4-length score over Two Step Salsa. Colonel John was third.

"He broke on top, but he definitely relaxed and let the other two go ahead and make the pace," Greely said. "One of the big keys to it was Tyler [Baze] was able to give him a breather in between, which I think was instrumental in winning the race. It shows me he's maturing."

Though both of Tres Borrachos's wins have come on synthetic surfaces, Greely is confident the horse can handle regular dirt. He finished third in both the El Camino Real and Arkansas derbies on dirt.

"To me, this horse acts like a horse that'll run on anything," Greely said. "He's run well on dirt tracks in graded stakes; he won at Santa Anita, which is a different track than Hollywood."

Dream Rush out of Ballerina

Dream Rush, winner of last year's Grade 1 Test, will be forced to miss Sunday's Grade 1 Ballerina due to a bruised right front foot, trainer Rick Violette said Tuesday.

Violette said the bruise forced Dream Rush to miss a couple of days of training.

"I'm not going to press it," Violette said.

Dream Rush has not won since the Test. She finished fifth in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint last year, and this year has finished second in the Grade 2 Vagrancy and third in the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap.

Violette said he may point Dream Rush to the $400,000 Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes, a six-furlong race run on a synthetic surface Sept. 13.

Dream Rush is the second Ballerina candidate to drop out of the race. Any Limit will be forced to miss the race due to a leg injury.

Those expected for the race include Baroness Thatcher and Miracle Miss, second and third in the Ballerina last year, as well as Elope, Intangaroo, Jibboom, Leah's Secret, Mistical Plan, and Sugar Swirl.

On Tuesday, Jibboom worked four furlongs in 49.19 seconds over the Oklahoma training track under jockey Edgar Prado.

Mani Bhavan pointed to Spinaway

Mani Bhavan came out of her seven-length victory in the Adirondack Stakes in such good order that trainer Steve Klesaris is considering bringing her back in the Grade 1 Spinaway here Aug. 31.

"She really came out of the race very well," Klesaris said. "It's 18 days; she'll decide her own direction. The Spinaway would be the direction if she's ready. If not, Plan B would be the Matron."

The Matron is at Belmont on Sept. 13.

In the Adirondack, Mani Bhavan ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:18.09 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 100.

Final Refrain a horse for course

Trainer Al Stall hopes Final Refrain's infatuation with Saratoga's turf course continues in Thursday's $80,000 Old Red Stakes for fillies and mares who haven't won a stakes race this year.

Final Refrain has a record of 2-1-1 from 4 turf starts, including a second-level allowance win over favored Jibboom on Aug. 1. She also won a first-level allowance race at 1 3/16 miles here last year.

While the turf course has favored Final Refrain's closing style, Stall is a little concerned that the mile distance of this race will be too short for his filly.

"She'll be back there, and if the race falls apart, hopefully she'll pick up part of it if not all of it," Stall said. "It'd have to set up for her, but going a mile it's anybody's guess."

Chestoria drops into this restricted stakes off a 10th-place finish in the Diana.

"She fits in there," trainer Bill Badgett said. "I wish it was a little further, but she's got a pretty good turn of foot."

Medley and Audacious Chloe are other contenders in the field.

J Be K, Kodiak Kowboy top Bishop

J Be K, who is 5 for 5 in races at seven furlongs or shorter, and Kodiak Kowboy, who is 2 for 2 in stakes at Saratoga, head the field of 10 expected for Saturday's Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs.

J Be K, trained by Steve Asmussen, debuted here last summer and set a track record of 1:03.13 for 5 1/2 furlongs. He did not race again until this winter at Fair Grounds where, after a sprint allowance win, he unsuccessfully tried to stretch out around two turns in the Louisiana Derby. Since then, he has won 3 of 4 graded stakes tries, the only loss coming to Harlem Rocker in the one-mile Withers at Aqueduct.

Kodiak Kowboy, formerly trained by Asmussen, won the Saratoga Special last year and the Grade 2 Amsterdam last month. The latter was his first start for Larry Jones.

On Monday, J Be K worked four furlongs in 50.67 seconds over the Oklahoma training track, while Kodiak Kowboy went five furlongs in 1:00.20 at Fair Hill.

Others pointing to the King's Bishop are Desert Key, Gentleman James, Golden Spikes, I'm So Lucky, Nautical Storm, Salute the Sarge, Silver Edition, and Visionaire.

Grasshopper bled in Iselin

Trainer Neil Howard said Grasshopper bled while finishing second in last weekend's Iselin Handicap at Monmouth Park and will be given some time off.

"He had a little bit of a bleeding incident," Howard said. "Inside the eighth pole I thought he was going to grind it out, but then it looked like he slowed down a little bit. I don't know how much it hindered him."

Howard said Grasshopper would stay on antibiotics and be trained lightly for a few weeks.

"We'll regroup and look for something in the fall," he said.