11/13/2007 1:00AM

Well-regarded maidens deserve another chance

EmailINGLEWOOD, Calif. - The sixth race last Saturday at Hollywood Park was expected to be a showdown between two of the more well-regarded 2-year-old maidens in California. But the seven-furlong race fell apart when even-money Zetterberg scratched at the gate and the first-time starter Signature Move ran like a typical green rookie and finished third.

It would be a mistake to count out either colt, and the connections of both remain as confident after the race as they were going in.

With two runner-up finishes under his belt, Zetterberg was the even-money favorite as the field loaded.

"He was sitting on a win," trainer Craig Dollase said.

But Zetterberg reared in the gate, scraped the inside of one of his legs, and was scratched.

"It was not enough to miss any days with him," Dollase said.

Sure enough, Zetterberg, a son of El Corredor, worked a sharp six furlongs Tuesday in 1:12.20. Dollase said Zetterberg will come back soon in a similar sprint.

When Zetterberg scratched, highly regarded first-time starter Signature Move inherited favoritism. Despite inexperience and the inside post in the seven-furlong race, he started as the 3-2 favorite. Signature Move hesitated slightly after the break, raced inside and behind horses while taking dirt for the first time, and finished evenly for third.

It was a promising debut by Signature Move, a son of Vindication. Trainer Eric Guillot said he will stretch out to two turns when he returns in December.

"This horse is the unknown," Guillot said, suggesting bigger things are ahead.

The race was won by the Jennie Green-trained Wind's Legacy, who earned a 69 Beyer Figure winning by two lengths in 1:23.12.

Colonel John preps for Real Quiet

The murky 2-year-old division should get a boost Sunday when sharp maiden winner Colonel John faces Kentucky shipper Meal Penalty in the $100,000 Real Quiet Stakes at 1o1/16 miles. Colonel John is expected to go favored after an impressive 4 1/2-length maiden win Oct. 7 at Santa Anita in which he earned an 85 Beyer. Trained by Eoin Harty, Colonel John worked five furlongs Tuesday at Santa Anita in 1:00.20.

Todd Pletcher is expected to start the 2-for-2 Meal Penalty in the Real Quiet. He won his Sept. 11 debut at the Meadowlands, and followed Oct. 14 with a nose allowance win at Keeneland. Sired by Tale of the Cat, Meal Penalty earned a 75 Beyer in his allowance win, and has two sharp works over the Hollywood surface, including a bullet 58.60 seconds last Saturday.

Spring Awakening will keep sprinting

The 2-year-old filly Spring Awakening ran a career-best race Sunday in the $108,000 Moccasin Stakes when she stretched to seven furlongs. That will be as far as she runs, for now. Owner-breeder Gerald Frankel and trainer Mike Mitchell plan to limit Spring Awakening to sprints.

"We're leaning to keeping her short, from three-quarters to seven-eighths," Mitchell said. "We want to make her a graded winner, that's the ultimate goal."

Spring Awakening earned an 88 Beyer Figure in the Moccasin and will run next at Santa Anita. There are several stakes for 3-year-old fillies that fit. Mitchell and Frankel are likely to run Spring Awakening in the seven-furlong, $125,000 California Breeders' on Dec. 29. The Grade 2, seven-furlong Santa Ynez for 3-year-old fillies is Jan. 13; the six-furlong, $250,000 Sunshine Millions Oaks for Cal-breds and Florida-breds is Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park.

Foxy Danseur stretches out

Foxy Danseur, who skipped the Moccasin Stakes, could start favored when she runs two turns Saturday in the 1 1/16-mile, $100,000 Sharp Cat Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. Foxy Danseur previously finished second in the six-furlong Anoakia Stakes on Oct. 20, and has not raced beyond seven furlongs.

"Can she stretch out? All indications are she can," trainer Chris Paasch said. "She's not wired . . . She will relax. Mike Smith has been working her, and he said 'No problem.' "

Foxy Danseur, who finished third in the Grade 3 Sorrento at Del Mar while still a maiden, has won 1 of 6 overall and will meet a small field Saturday. Trainer Doug O'Neill nominated five to the Sharp Cat, but said Grade 1-placed Grace Anatomy, arguably the best of the lot, will wait for the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet on Dec. 15.

Izarra gets some time off

Trainer Ron McAnally is giving Grade 1-placed filly Izarra a break, and said the 2-year-old would not run until early next year. Izarra won her debut and finished third in the Gradeo1 Del Mar Debutante, followed by a nose loss in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes. She made her fourth career start in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, and finished 10th.

"She came back good, and we'll just give her a break until next year," McAnally said. "She's a good filly; she ducked out on the first turn [at Monmouth]; she didn't know what hit her."

Izarra is owned and bred by Janis Whitham.

* The connections of German star Axxos have scrapped plans to run in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby on Nov. 25. Trainer Peter Schiergen informed Hollywood racing secretary Martin Panza on Monday that Axxos was "not 100 percent" and will not make the trip. Early this year in Germany, Axxos won a Group 2 and finished second in a Group 1. The early favorite for the $500,000 Hollywood Derby is Nobiz Like Shobiz.

* Jockey Fernando Jara will be off through Friday after going down in a spill Sunday. Agent Bob Meldahl said Jara was sore, but otherwise fine, after the spill in race 6. Jara will resume riding on Saturday. Jockey Jose Valdivia also went down in the spill, and was not hurt, according to his agent, Michelle Barsotti. Valdivia took off his remaining mount Sunday in race 9, but was scheduled to resume riding Wednesday.