03/26/2008 11:00PM

War Pass turns in sharp four-furlong drill


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - After 12 days of speculation and examination, War Pass gave his connections some tangible evidence that the Tampa Bay Derby may have been an aberration when he worked a solid four furlongs in 47.40 seconds Thursday at the Palm Meadows training center in south Florida.

The work, done with exercise rider Maxine Correa aboard, was the fastest of 26 drills at the distance. It was War Pass's first timed workout since he finished last as the 1-20 favorite in the Tampa Bay Derby on March 15. It will be his only official work between that race and next Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.

"I was happy with everything," trainer Nick Zito said Thursday afternoon from Palm Meadows. "I'm praying, thanking God that we got another shot. I'm just hoping he has a good week, we build off this, and he shows something in the Wood."

Zito said that War Pass, last year's 2-year-old champion, may "run through the lane" one day next week before shipping to New York on Thursday.

War Pass is the marquee name for what is shaping up to be a seven-horse field for the Wood, run at 1 1/8 miles over Aqueduct's main track. His opponents are expected to be Court Vision, Giant Moon, Roman Emperor, Spurrier, Tale of Ekati, and Texas Wildcatter.

Zito still isn't quite sure what went wrong in Tampa, but several tests on War Pass did not show anything amiss. Zito is simply looking toward the Wood to find out where War Pass is at for the Kentucky Derby.

"A lot of questions are going to be answered in the Wood," Zito said.

Sir Greeley to miss Carter Handicap

After Sir Greeley won the Grade 3 Toboggan earlier this month, his connections were looking forward to taking another crack at the Grade 1 Carter Handicap, a race in which he was beaten a neck in 2006.

On Thursday, however, trainer Jimmy Jerkens said Sir Greeley would be forced to miss next Saturday's Carter after missing some training due to a hind end issue.

"He was off in behind for a few days," Jerkens said. "It took a while to get him going. I don't know if he got cast in his stall or what."

Jerkens said Sir Greeley would likely be pointed for the Belmont meet. In 2006, Sir Greeley won the Grade 3 Westcheser at Belmont.

Sir Greeley's defection is another blow to what was once looking like a stellar renewal of the Carter, a seven-furlong race. Last year's Cigar Mile winner, Daaher, was pointing for this race but has been retired. Midnight Lute, last year's Breeders' Cup Sprint winner, was also eyeing the Carter, but is now being shelved until the summer.

The Carter will feature undefeated New York-bred Bustin Stones and Southern California-based Spring at Last, as well as King of the Roxy, Lord Snowdon, and Premium Wine.

Jerkens has a couple of good ones

Jerkens was among the first trainers to return here from south Florida. Surprisingly, Jerkens had a quiet Gulfstream meeting, winning just 2 races from 25 starters. One of those wins was with the promising 3-year-old filly Zaftig, who won a maiden race by 8 3/4 lengths and who could run next in the Grade 2, $150,000 Comely Stakes here at one mile on April 12.

Zaftig, a daughter of Gone West, showed a strong closing kick winning a seven-furlong maiden race in 1:23.12 and earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 85. Two of the fillies she beat in that race have since come back to win.

"It was very good," Jerkens said. "She finished good, sat off the pace nice, switched her leads, and took off."

Jerkens said that Vitruvius, a half-brother to Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Corinthian, is back in training and even had a "light breeze" Wednesday at Belmont, though he was not credited with an official time. Vitruvius has not run since finishing last in the Grade 2 Jerome on Oct. 7. Shortly after that race, Vitruvius underwent surgery to remove ankle chips.

Go Go Shoot drills for Bay Shore

With a forecast calling for rain the next few days, several trainers moved up important workouts for next Saturday's quartet of graded stakes. One of those horsemen was Jim Ryerson, who sent Go Go Shoot through a five-furlong work in 1:00.84 Thursday morning in preparation for the Grade 3, $150,000 Bay Shore Stakes.

Go Go Shoot has won 3 of 4 starts, including the Jimmy Winkfield and Fred "Cappy" Capossela Stakes in his two most recent efforts. He has followed the Capossela victory with a couple of strong works, prompting Ryerson to try and slow things down a little bit Thursday.

"The last few works he's gone relatively fast," Ryerson said. "Today was nice in that he went easy, he ran the last quarter-mile. We just wanted him to go nice and easy with a little finish and he did, so everything's good."

The seven-furlong Bay Shore will be a test for Go Go Shoot in that it will likely be the strongest field he's met to date as well as his first start beyond six furlongs.

Among those pointing to the Bay Shore are Double Down Vinman, Gattopardo, J Be K, Jockey Ridge, Laysh Laysh Laysh, Magical Forest, and Make the Point.

Naughty New Yorker works

Pat Kelly was another horseman who moved up workouts due to weather, putting Naughty New Yorker and Evening Attire through five-furlong drills. Naughty New Yorker, who covered the distance in 1:00.43, is a definite for the Grade 3, $200,000 Excelsior Handicap, while Evening Attire, who went five furlongs in 1:01.24, is possible.

"We let him roll a little bit today," Kelly said of Naughty New Yorker.

Naughty New Yorker, who has won 12 of 41 starts, is in search of a graded stakes victory that his connections hope will enhance his value as a stallion. Naughty New Yorker did win the Grade 3 Red Smith, but that was an off-the-turf race. Naughty New Yorker ran second in last year's Excelsior to Magna Graduate, who is listed as a starter for this year's Excelsior.

Others pointing to the Excelsior are Malibu Moonshine, Nite Light, Sightseeing, and Wafi City. Possible starters include Delosvientos, Explosive Heat, and Temporary Saint.