08/27/2001 11:00PM

Watch out! Orseno readies late-season attack

Email

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - For trainer Joe Orseno, the first eight months of 2001 have been frustrating. First came setbacks to last year's 2-year-old champion Macho Uno and older handicap star Red Bullet, which delayed their seasonal debuts until the opening of Saratoga. And then there was the career-ending injury to his other Eclipse champion, Perfect Sting.

With both Macho Uno and Red Bullet fit and ready to make their second starts of the year, the coming months figure to be much brighter for Orseno and owner Frank Stronach. Macho Uno returns this Monday in Philadelphia Park's Pennsylvania Derby and Red Bullet goes in the Woodward Handicap on Sept. 8 at Belmont Park.

Macho Uno had his final major tune-up for the Pennsylvania Derby Tuesday at Saratoga, working five furlongs in 59.20 seconds over the Oklahoma training track with exercise rider Keith Ricks up and blinkers on. Earlier Tuesday, Red Bullet open-galloped a mile in 1:46 at Oklahoma.

"I don't think we're having a bad year," Orseno said. "As long as you don't compare it to last year. I think for what we've run and what we've done, it's been a pretty good season so far. The only frustrating part was not having Macho Uno and Red Bullet for the first part of it."

Orseno is coming off the kind of year most trainers only dream about. He won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Filly and Mare Turf, as well as Eclipse Awards with both Macho Uno and Perfect Sting, and the Preakness with Red Bullet. He also lost a photo-finish to Bobby Frankel for an Eclipse Award as the year's top trainer.

"The one thing we're trying not to do is rush these two horses back to make up for lost time," said Orseno. "Fortunately, Mr. Stronach is the kind of owner who will allow us to manage the horses properly. Right now I can't make them any fitter than they are for their next races, which we're using to get the two of them ready for the next step."

Macho Uno will race in blinkers for the first time on Monday. "He's a horse loaded with talent who just happens to be a little studdish and unfortunately gelding him is not an option. I'm putting the blinkers on with the hope it will keep him a bit more focused," said Orseno. "I wanted a good work this morning to sharpen him and I got it. He's dead fit and I think we're okay coming into this race, but he's had only one race at seven furlongs all year, so you never know."

Mayakovsky: Colt with a future

Trainer Patrick Biancone was feeling confident after watching Mayakovsky work a half-mile in 47.60 seconds under jockey Edgar Prado over the main track here Tuesday. It was the final tuneup for the colt's stakes debut Saturday in the $200,000 Hopeful.

"This morning was just a blowout for Saturday," Biancone said. "Edgar was happy with the work, which made me happy. He's ready. I expect him to improve off his first race" - Mayakovsky broke the 5 1/2-furlong course record winning his debut on opening day - "and then hopefully improve off this one, too. He doesn't have to prove anything to me. I'm sure he's a Group 1 horse. He just might need a couple of more runs to finally do it."

Biancone has mapped out a schedule that will include the Champagne Stakes and then Breeders' Cup Juvenile for Mayakovsky, who is owned by Michael Tabor.

Atto Mile next for Affirmed Success

Trainer Richard Schosberg said the Atto Mile will be next for Affirmed Success after the versatile veteran worked five furlongs in 59 seconds over the Oklahoma turf course on Tuesday.

"He's doing awfully good right now," Schosberg said while watching Affirmed Success gallop out six furlongs in 1:12.20. "I'll work him one more time here Monday and then ship him to Woodbine on Wednesday."

Affirmed Success is being pointed for the Breeders' Cup Mile.

Kimmel gets Cozie

Trainer John Kimmel has privately purchased Cozie Advantage, an eye-catching winner of her career debut on the turf last week, for the Red Oak Stable. Kimmel said he is considering shipping the 2-year-old filly down to Calder in October for the $400,000 My Dear Girl Stakes, the final leg of the rich Florida Stallion Series. Red Oak is the nom de course for John Brunetti, the owner of Hialeah Park.

When she launched her career on grass on Aug. 24 for former trainer Gary Contessa, Cozie Advantage rallied from last place and six wide entering the stretch to pass the entire field in less than a quarter mile, winning by nearly four lengths.

"She's not really bred for the turf, so the way she won on grass the first time leads me to believe she might be even better on the dirt," said Kimmel.

Smok'n Frolic likely for Spinaway

Todd Pletcher has nominated three fillies, Smok'n Frolic, Purple Princess and Savannah Bayou, to Friday's $200,000, Grade 1 Spinaway but of the trio only Smok'n Frolic is considered a potential starter. Purple Princess will be sent to Monmouth this weekend to run in the Sorority Stakes.

Smok'n Frolic finished a well-beaten fifth after bobbling at the break in the Adirondack Stakes on Aug. 13, but she displaced her palate during the race and Pletcher said the performance "is not a true indication of her ability."

In High Gear out indefinitely

In High Gear, who earned the highest Beyer Speed Figure of any 2-year-old colt in New York when he won his debut in June, is unlikely to race for the remainder of the year, trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said.

Dutrow said In High Gear is still drifting out while training in the morning and he can't pinpoint the cause. Dutrow plans to send In High Gear to the Rood and Riddle Equine Clinic in Lexington, Ky., where Dr. Larry Bramlage will give him a thorough examination.

"We're going to send him to Kentucky to see if they can find out what's going on because we can't," Dutrow said. "I think it's in his left hind area."

In High Gear, a son of Golden Gear, won his debut at Belmont on June 10 by a neck over Warners, who finished 14 1/2 lengths ahead of the rest of the field. In High Gear earned a Beyer Figure of 104. Shortly thereafter, In High Gear underwent surgery to remove an ascended testicle.

Dutrow said he does not believe In High Gear will run again this year.

"I can't imagine sending him there where somebody's going to find something that's correctable in two weeks," Dutrow said.

No surgery for Pleasant Breeze

The planned surgery for Pleasant Breeze was canceled, trainer James Bond said, after the horse was diagnosed with arthritis in his hock area.

"He's not lame, he just doesn't move as quick and he doesn't bounce out of the gate as quick," Bond said.

When asked what the treatment for Pleasant Breeze was, Bond said, "Good question. Take three aspirin and call me in the morning?"

Bond said he didn't know what treatment Pleasant Breeze would receive and it was unclear when or if the 7-year-old gelding would run again. Pleasant Breeze last raced on Aug. 19 when he finished last in the Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap, a race he won in 2000.

- additional reporting by David Grening

Go to Saratoga coverage.