02/17/2004 12:00AM

Well-rested Pa Pa Da looks to rebound


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - When Read the Footnotes made a successful 3-year-old debut in last weekend's Fountain of Youth Stakes, he became the fifth starter of last fall's Remsen Stakes to win. Four of those horses won stakes.

Trainer David Donk hopes that trend continues Saturday when he sends out Pa Pa Da in the Grade 3, $100,000 Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The Palm Beach is run at nine furlongs on turf.

Pa Pa Da's only bad performance from six career starts came in the Remsen, where he finished eighth of 11. Donk blames himself for that effort, because Pa Pa Da was running for the third time in six weeks and may have been a little spent.

"I made a big mistake by running him in three races close together," said Donk, who trains Pa Pa Da for John and Theresa Behrendt. "I ran him long, short, and long again. The trainer takes all the heat on that one."

Pa Pa Da, a New York-bred son of Incurable Optimist, made his 3-year-old debut last month, finishing third as the 8-5 favorite in an entry-level turf race here. Breaking from post 10, Pa Pa Da was carried out at the break. He got a bit rank and attended the pace, then was forced to steady when a horse came in his path in mid-stretch. Still, he was beaten only one length.

"Eibar [Coa] had to take a pretty good hold of him," Donk said. "He wasn't going to win, but maybe he could have been second."

Though Pa Pa Da's only win has come on turf, Donk isn't convinced that he's better on that surface. Pa Pa Da finished second to the highly regarded Friends Lake in maiden company and in the Sleepy Hollow Stakes, both on dirt. Also, Pa Pa Da's three best Beyer Speed Figures have come on dirt; two of those figures came in sprints, and Donk is sure that is not what Pa Pa Da wants to do.

Donk said he plans to run Pa Pa Da back on dirt following the Palm Beach. The quality of Pa Pa Da's run Saturday will determine if Donk will be ambitious enough to try something like the Florida Derby on March 13.

Shake You Down goes next at Oaklawn

With limited six-furlong opportunities in the immediate future, trainer Scott Lake said Shake You Down will probably not run again until the $150,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park on April 8.

Shake You Down, third in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, made a successful seasonal debut in last month's Sunshine Millions Sprint. He went into the race with a quarter crack, and Lake said Shake You Down was a bit tender on his right front foot Monday, when he was re-shod. Lake had planned to work Shake You Down on Tuesday but has postponed it until the weekend.

"He trained great on it this morning, but I don't want to rush him along, so we'll wait a couple of days," Lake said Tuesday at Gulfstream.

Lake said he considered running Shake You Down in the $125,000 Pelleteri Breeders' Cup Handicap at Fair Grounds on March 14, but since Shake You Down is not Breeders' Cup-nominated, he is only eligible for $75,000 of the $125,000 purse. That, and the fact he would have to van to the race, made that spot unattractive.

"He's done so good flying wherever we went that we don't want to mess with that," Lake said.

Seewald sends Velez out on a high note

The depth of the Gulfstream jockey colony had slowed business down considerably for jockey Jose Velez Jr. So Velez planned to take three weeks off to freshen up and be ready to pounce when the big guns to move north next month.

Velez was planning to start his respite last Saturday, but trainer Alan Seewald convinced him to delay it for two days. Velez, Seewald, and their supporters were quite happy he did after Velez guided home two longshots Monday for Seewald.

In the seventh, the Velez/Seewald team won a $25,000 claiming race with Awe ($76.60). Two races later, they struck again with Vinemeister, who upset the featured optional claiming/allowance race at a $33.60 mutuel.

"He came out of semi-retirement," Seewald said of Velez. "He's an extremely underrated rider."

Seewald said he was a little bit surprised that both horses won, "but not as much as the odds they were.''

Vinemeister had only one win in his last 10 starts, but that victory came in last July's Grade 3 Salvatore Mile at Monmouth Park. He was dropping into allowance company Monday after running in a seven-furlong stakes at Tampa.

"He's just been very inconsistent his whole career," said Seewald, noting that Vinemeister won the Storm Cat Stakes at 2 and finished second in the Jerome at 3. "He'd run one good race and four bad ones. We've tried a lot of different things with him. Hopefully now this will get him going."

Seewald said he was surprised that Awe was 35-1. Awe finished third at this level in the slop Jan. 31.

"We thought he'd run big last time, because he got in trouble the time before that," Seewald said. "[Last time], he made a run at the leader, and he couldn't get by and just backed off. The two horses that beat him were back in, and there were a couple more in there that looked better on paper."

Seewald is 3 for 15 at the meet with just 10 horses. He said he hopes to match that record the rest of this meet before he heads to New Jersey, where the rest of his stable will join him for the Monmouth meet.

Yell back with McGaughey

Yell, who set a stakes record winning last year's Davona Dale here, worked three furlongs in 38 seconds Monday at Gulfstream Park. It was her first breeze since she rejoined trainer Shug McGaughey's stable this winter.

McGaughey said Yell had been working on the farm in South Carolina and "is pretty far along." Yell hasn't run since finishing sixth in the Churchill Downs Distaff in November.

McGaughey said he would look to run Yell at this meet, but his early-season objectives are the $175,000 Vinery Madison Stakes at Keeneland on April 7 and the Grade 1, $250,000 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs on May 1, Kentucky Derby Day.

Meanwhile, Storm Flag Flying, the 2-year-old champion of 2002, worked four furlongs in 48.20 seconds Tuesday at Palm Beach Downs. She has breezed six times this year.

"She's doing fine," McGaughey said.

Albertrani grabs two wins while flying solo

Tom Albertrani spent the past nine years as the top assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor and the Godolphin Stable. A former rider, Albertrani is now out on his own and off to a fast start at the current meeting.

On Sunday, Albertrani sent out a former bin Suroor trainee, Bourbonnais, to register an impressive second-level allowance victory in a race switched from the turf to the main track. The win was the second in as many starters for Albertrani here this winter.

Albertrani is making his first visit to Gulfstream Park since he worked as an assistant trainer and exercise rider for Bill Mott a decade ago. He has nine horses stabled at Payson Park.

"The goal right now is to make the few horses that we have here worth coming down for this winter," Albertrani said following Bourbonnais's victory. "And then hopefully things will build up numbers-wise for the spring."

Bourbonnais is an Irish-bred son of Singspiel owned by Darley Stud. He showed much promise as a 2-year-old in England, winning two of three starts including a listed stakes, but he failed to win a race in three tries at 3.

"He was a little disappointing when we put him on dirt last year," said Albertrani. "And he bled pretty badly in his final start of the year in France. That was one of the reasons for bringing him over to the States, so he could run on Lasix. He's always trained well on dirt, and after this win, I might just keep him on dirt for now."

* Chapel Royal, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile third-place finisher, worked five furlongs in 1:00 Tuesday at Palm Meadows. Trainer Todd Pletcher is pointing him to the Swale Stakes on March 13.

- additional reporting by Mike Welsch