02/18/2003 12:00AM

Werner's three-derby plan


NEW ORLEANS - Badge of Silver isn't a stout, strapping horse, but his 10-length win in Sunday's Risen Star Stakes apparently didn't sap his energy. Badge of Silver dove into his feed tub Sunday night and didn't seem overly tired Monday, trainer Ronny Werner said. He won't know for sure until Badge of Silver returns to the racetrack for exercise, but Werner thought Badge of Silver came out of the race in fine physical shape.

Werner admits he has thought extensively about a campaign that can take Badge of Silver to the Kentucky Derby. "I did that already," Werner said. "You have to have a plan."

Ideally, Badge of Silver would make his next start March 9 in the Louisiana Derby and use the $500,000 Illinois Derby on April 5 at Hawthorne Race Course as his final Kentucky Derby prep. War Emblem, last year's Kentucky Derby winner, prepped in that race. Werner said he likes the schedule because of timing. Following the Louisiana Derby, Badge of Silver would have four weeks between each of his next two starts.

"You have to spread them apart," Werner said. "Three weeks, three weeks, three weeks is pretty tight."

Werner was beaming after the Risen Star, but nobody was more excited than Ken Ramsey, who owns Badge of Silver with his wife, Sarah. Ramsey, a Kentuckian, has owned horses since the late 1960's and has dreamed of getting to the Kentucky Derby ever since. The closest he came was with Rollin with Nolan, who suffered an injury in the Blue Grass Stakes that kept him out of the Derby. The day before the Risen Star, the Ramseys' Ten Cents a Shine finished sixth as the favorite in the Fountain of Youth.

Badge of Silver was one of eight yearlings Werner picked out for the Ramseys at the Keeneland September sale in 2001. Ramsey had seen Werner dominate 2-year-old races that spring at Keeneland.

"I asked him what it took to win with a 2-year-old at Keeneland," Ramsey said. "He told me, let me go buy you some horses and I'll show you."

Badge of Silver gave the Ramseys a spring 2-year-old win at Keeneland. He's giving them a lot more now.

Seattle Hoofer out

Seattle Hoofer, part of Pool 1 of the Derby Future wager last weekend, has been taken out of training and will be turned out at Stonerside Farm near Paris, Ky. Seattle Hoofer came into the Risen Star with wins in his first two starts, but never reached contention Sunday and finished ninth.

"The horse has had chronic knee problems since he was a baby," trainer Mike Stidham said. "The races just caught up to him. We're stopping on the horse now to give him a chance later. It's the right thing to do for him."

Indy Dancer, who also suffered his first loss in the Risen Star, left Fair Grounds on Monday and returned to trainer Todd Pletcher's stable in Florida. Indy Dancer, the Risen Star favorite, finished seventh Sunday and was beaten nearly 20 lengths.

But there was a grain of hope in the disappointing performance. Indy Dancer raced about six paths wide into the first turn and seemed uncomfortable when he raced inside other horses on the backstretch. Still last turning for home, Indy Dancer finished very fast when jockey John Velazquez steered him clear of traffic.

Plans are uncertain for the Lecomte Stakes winner Saintly Look, who raced with Badge of Silver to the far turn Sunday but tired and finished fifth. "He got outrun," trainer Dallas Stewart said. "I can't give him any excuse. We'll have to think about what's next. There are some good races going short. I don't know yet."

Belle of Perintown can do two turns

The Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks is the next stop for Belle of Perintown, who won the Silverbulletday Stakes on Saturday as easily as Badge of Silver won the Risen Star. Belle of Perintown flipped in the gate before the start of the Tiffany Lass, her seasonal debut, and finished last. The experience had no lingering effect, as Belle of Perintown broke sharply, tracked the pace, and cruised to an 8 1/2-length win Saturday.

"We really didn't know if she was a two-turn horse before that," trainer Eddie Kenneally said. "We know now."

Among others, Belle of Perintown will meet Tiffany Lass winner Lady Tak in the Oaks.

* Both stakes races this weekend are projected to have short fields. Saturday's Chou Croute for older female route horses could include Blue Guru, Dusti's Tune, Ifyouprefersilver, Lakenheath, Salty Farma, Summer Delight, and Took Out. Probable for the six-furlong Taylor's Special on Sunday are Aloha Bold, Doctor Mike, G.W.'s Deputy, Gracie's Dancer, Kazoo, and Mountain General.