Updated on 09/15/2011 12:55PM

Untarnished Penny's Gold fit for Diana

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Penny's Gold, a winner of four straight since coming to the U.S., worked a half-mile in 47.85 in preparation for the Diana Handicap.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N. Y. - Penny's Gold, undefeated in four starts since coming to the U.S. and turned over to trainer Christophe Clement last winter, worked a half mile in 47.85 over the turf course at the Oklahoma training track on Monday in preparation for her toughest test to date in Monday's nine furlong, $500,000 Diana Handicap.

"It was a very good work," Clement said after Penny's Gold pulled up. "She finished very well. Galloped out five furlongs in 59 [seconds] and change. She is training very well, and as long as the going is not too soft she'll run in the Diana."

Penny's Gold came to Clement from France where she won three of six starts including a Group 3 Stakes at 3. She began her U.S. career defeating third level allowance competition at Gulfstream Park in mid-February and has since gone on to win three stakes, including the Grade 3 Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup Handicap here Aug. 12.

"I always thought she was a very good filly," said Clement. "Unfortunately, she got sick in June forcing us to miss the Just A Game Handicap."

While the Diana was a major steppingstone here last summer for Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf and ultimate Eclipse Award winner Perfect Sting, Clement said the Filly and Mare Turf at 1 3/8 miles is unlikely for Penny's Gold.

"She's a bit limited in stamina," said Clement. "I think a mile and one eighth is about as far as she wants to go. But I could be wrong. We'll try it Monday and see what happens. The Breeders' Cup Mile would be another option. I think she is good enough at that distance to compete with the boys."

John's Call adds Lasix

Trainer Tom Voss proved it's never too late to teach an old horse new tricks when he worked the 10-year-old John's Call on Lasix for the first time Monday. And the veteran responded so well to the medication, working a half mile in 46.80 seconds over the Oklahoma turf course, that Voss has decided to run John's Call on Lasix for the first time in his career in next start, either at Belmont Park in the Man O'War Handicap or in Delaware Park's Sussex Handicap.

"It was a little faster than I wanted him to go but he galloped out pretty good," said Voss as John's Call cooled off back at the barn. "It was a big improvement over the way he worked before his last race."

John's Call was found to have bled after finishing last of nine in defense of his title in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Handicap Handicap on Aug. 11.

"I just have to disregard that last race. Just throw it out," said Voss. "The heat wave really knocked him for a loop. I think the stress of eight or nine straight days of that kind of heat was simply too much for him."

Secret Status looking good

Secret Status continued to please her trainer, Neil Howard, and impress railbirds, working six furlongs in 1:13.51 under exercise rider Tony Hughes on Monday. She will make her next start in Belmont's Grade 1 Ruffian Handicap on Sept. 8.

"She's doing so good," Howard said enthusiastically as he watched Secret Status walk off the track. "This work was even faster than I wanted, but the track might have been a little on the quick side because of the early morning showers. And she finished very strong."

Secret Status was scratched at the gate after banging her head moments before the start of the Go For Wand Handicap here July 29. She rebounded 12 days later with a hard-fought allowance victory in a race over a muddy track.

"I still can't put a pencil to exactly what happened that day," said Howard, referring to the Go For Wand. "We've stood her in the gate a dozen times since then and she's been fine. I think every trainer has had a horse like her. Never does a thing wrong in the morning but in the afternoon, when she puts her game face on, she does something like that. I think it's just the Alydar in her."

Kimmel: Hook And Ladder 'awesome'

Trainer John Kimmel also is happy, delighted by the way Hook And Ladder is coming up to Saturday's $250,000 Forego Handicap, a Grade 1 dash at six furlongs.

"He's training awesome," Kimmel said 24 hours after Hook And Ladder breezed five furlongs in 1:00.66 over the Oklahoma training track under regular rider Richard Migliore on Sunday morning. "I'm really excited about him. He's as good as it gets right now. He just loves training over this track. I think he's as good as he was last winter."

Hook And Ladder was nothing sort of sensational at Gulfstream Park during the winter, winning all three starts including the Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap over Trippi. But his form tailed off upon shipping north as he finished third in the Carter and then a dismal eighth in the True North Handicap.

"He was developing a quarter crack before the Carter and it really blew out in the True North," Kimmel said. "But the foot has really grown out well, is nice and stable now and the Forego looks like a really good spot for him."

Hook And Ladder will carry 116 pounds in the wide-open Forego, one less than expected starting highweight Alannan.

Other Forego candidates to work Sunday include Bonapaw (five furlongs in 1:00.01 on the main track) and Left Bank(four furlongs in 50.02 on the training track).

Heavyweight Champ skips Hopeful

Heavyweight Champ, the runner-up to Jump Start in the Saratoga Special, will skip Saturday's Grade 1 Hopeful and instead be pointed to the Grade 1 Futurity at Belmont on Sept. 16, trainer John Terranova said.

Terranova said by running in the Futurity, at a mile, he can determine in which direction to point the colt for the rest of the fall. While Terranova does not plan on running Heavyweight Champ in the Breeders' Cup, a successful race in the Futurity could prompt Terranova to look at races such as the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland or the Champagne at Belmont.

If it turns out that Heavyweight Champ does not successfully stretch out, he could be pointed to races such as the Cowdin at Belmont or the Maryland Million Juvenile.

Musical tightens up for Diana

Musical, trainer H. James Bond's emerging turf star, blazed five-eighths in 57.89 on the Oklahoma turf track Monday for the Diana. The daughter of El Gran Senor is perfect in two starts since being switched to the grass earlier this summer.

Trainer Gary Gullo was handed a 15 day suspension and fined $500 after his horse Devil's Fiddler tested positive for Flunixin following his victory in the second race at Belmont Park on June 13. The stewards reduced the suspension to seven days, Aug. 28 through Sept. 4, when Gullo waived his right to appeal.

Winner for Schosberg

That huge sigh of relief emanating from Saratoga Sunday came from trainer Rich Schosberg, who broke an 0-for-29 streak at the meet when Russian Sweetiepie got up to win a second-level allowance race on turf. "The only thing worse being a trainer having a bad meet at Saratoga is being the wife of a trainer having a bad meet at Saratoga," Schosberg said. "My wife [Dawn] is a champion. I put her through hell. I ordered 12 pictures so it makes us look like we won 12 races."

Schosberg, who went 9 for 32 here last summer, said the most frustrating thing about this year was that he had several horses run career-best races only to be second.

* Sporting, a 3-year-old son of Dehere, collapsed and died while galloping out following a seventh-place finish in Sunday's fourth race. The cause of death was "cardiovascular collapse." A major blood vessel broke, causing an aneurysm.

- additional reporting by David Grening

Go to Saratoga coverage.