Updated on 09/17/2011 10:26AM

Volponi possible for Bold Ruler


ELMONT, N.Y. - Talk about an embarrassment of riches.

Two days after winning the Kentucky Derby aboard Funny Cide, jockey Jose Santos was aboard his 2002 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Volponi on Monday morning, guiding him through a half-mile workout in 47.80 seconds at Belmont Park.

"It can't get better than that,' Santos said, before catching a plane to south Florida, where he planned to surprise his kids by having dinner with them.

It actually can get better for Santos.

After the workout, trainer Phil Johnson said Volponi is ready to run and one possible spot for his return is Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Bold Ruler Handicap at six furlongs. Johnson would use the race as a prep for the $250,000 Brooklyn Handicap on June 14.

Though Volponi has been training extremely well for two months, Johnson said he did not want to run him in Wednesday's one-mile Westchester Handicap first time back.

"The Bold Ruler would be what he's up to,' Johnson said, referring to the six-furlong distance. "He would be more expected to win the Westchester than he would the Bold Ruler.'

Volponi was made the 122-pound highweight for the Bold Ruler, a race that drew 14 nominations. One potentially interesting rival is Shake You Down, who has won his last two starts with a Beyer Speed Figure of 118 in each. He was assigned 115 pounds and is likely to run only if the track is wet.

Other possible starters include Smooth Jazz (119 pounds), Multiple Choice (117), Say Florida Sandy (116), Here's Zealous (114), and Well Fancied (113).

Chavez returns Wednesday

Jorge Chavez, who severely injured his back in a spill during the running of the Florida Derby on March 15, is scheduled to return to action on Wednesday's opening-day card at Belmont. He is named on five horses, including Saint Appeal in the $100,000 Westchester.

Chavez said he has been breezing horses for the last two weeks after receiving medical clearance from his doctors in Florida. He worked horses at Calder for one week and at Belmont for the last week, including Monday.

Chavez is now being represented by Gary Gullo, the former trainer.

Tagg assistant had rough trip

When Barclay Tagg and his top assistant, Robin Smullen, had to go to Kentucky last week with Funny Cide, they summoned another assistant, Leigh Offutt, to take care of their New York string.

On April 25, Offutt left Keeneland and drove to New York. Her Honda was rear-ended on the Staten Island Expressway and she had to wait three hours for authorities to come and take a police report.

Once she did make it to Belmont, Offutt was kicked by one of Tagg's horses and suffered a broken left arm. Offutt, who was expected to get on horses in the morning, had to scramble to find help.

Funny Cide's victory in the Derby helped take the sting out of her troubled week.

"All my bad luck I would do all over again if he could win the Preakness,' Offutt said Monday morning while fielding the bevy of phone calls for Tagg.

Kissin Saint readies for Peter Pan

Kissin Saint, a well-beaten third behind Empire Maker and Peace Rules in the Wood Memorial, worked five furlongs in 1:02.40 Monday morning at Belmont. Trainer Lisa Lewis is pointing the colt to the Peter Pan here May 24.

Lewis and owner Peter Karches targeted the Belmont Stakes as a goal for Kissin Saint almost immediately following the Wood.

"I didn't work him for two weeks,' Lewis said. "He's gone both times by himself. Next week he will probably go in company and we will put Richie [Migliore] on him.'

'Storm Flag' works toward Acorn

Storm Flag Flying, who suffered her first career defeat when beaten by Cyber Secret in the Comely Stakes last month, worked four furlongs in 47.40 seconds in company with Vespers.

Trainer Shug McGaughey is pointing Storm Flag Flying, last year's 2-year-old filly champion, to the Grade 1 Acorn on June 6.

"I'm going to get a little more aggressive with her myself,' McGaughey said. "Once we get going with her we're going to be on an aggressive pattern anyway.'

McGaughey is hoping to make the Acorn, Mother Goose (June 28), possibly the Coaching Club American Oaks (July 19) and the Alabama (Aug. 16).

Meanwhile, McGaughey said Yell came out of her third-place finish in Friday's Kentucky Oaks in good shape. He has not picked out a spot for her next race, but did mention the $500,000 Delaware Oaks on July 19 as a summer goal.

Runners-up going to Just a Game

Though Grade 1 winners Wonder Again and Voodoo Dancer finished second and third, respectively, behind Delta Princess in Saturday's Grade 3 Beaugay Handicap, their trainers came out of the race pleased. Both will be pointed to the $200,000 Just a Game Breeders' Cup Handicap on June 7.

Jimmy Toner, trainer of Wonder Again, said his filly gave a good effort and probably needed the race, her first since finishing off the board in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth last October.

"It was a good effort for her first time back especially going from 3 to 4,' Toner said. "Naturally, you would like to win but you can't take anything away from the winner, she's a pretty nice filly. Overall, we're very happy.'

Trainer Christophe Clement said Voodoo Dancer "probably needed' the race and "got a little tired.'

Luzzi's first title in New York

Mike Luzzi won his first riding title in New York, taking the Aqueduct spring meet with 34 wins, six more than apprentice Luis Chavez and John Velazquez.

Chavez, meanwhile, has lost his apprenticeship. He will begin serving 20 days of suspensions this week.

Allen Jerkens captured the trainers' title with 15 wins, two more than Scott Lake. Richard Dutrow had 11 wins.

- Raging Fever, winner of the Bed o' Roses Breeders Cup April 19, worked four furlongs in 48.20 seconds Monday. She is being targeted to the Shuvee Handicap on May 17.

- Harlan's Holiday, the Donn Handicap winner and Dubai World Cup runner-up, worked four furlongs in 49.45 seconds on Sunday. He is being pointed to the Brooklyn.