09/19/2007 11:00PM

West Coast Swing bound for Keeneland

EmailSTICKNEY, Ill. - First time around two turns, first stakes race, first try on dirt, and first trip away from home - West Coast Swing overcame all those factors and remained unbeaten last Saturday at Prairie Meadows.

And while West Coast Swing has returned to Chicago, where she won the first two races of her career this summer, she is not long for the locality. Trainer Shannon Ritter is bypassing the Hawthorne fall meet this season and instead moving her string of horses into 16 stalls at Keeneland once Arlington closes its backstretch on Sept. 26. And Keeneland is where West Coast Swing could start next, with the Oct. 20 Raven Run Stakes her likely target, Ritter said. The other upcoming option is the Indiana Oaks on Oct. 5 at Hoosier Park.

A 3-year-old, West Coast Swing was in training as far back as the Oaklawn meet, but didn't debut until June 30 at Arlington, where she won her maiden at first asking by two lengths. That was fine, but an entry-level allowance win by almost 11 lengths stamped West Coast Swing as something worth watching, and she validated that performance Saturday in the Prairie Meadows Oaks.

West Coast Swing ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:41 on a fast-playing dirt surface, and turned in a professional and determined performance after racing a bit greenly into the first turn. Ritter said that the filly had exited the race in good physical condition, and that she would confer with WinStar Farms racing manager Elliott Walden - her former boss - in finalizing future plans.

A full brother to West Coast Swing, Go Swiftly, finished fourth Wednesday night in his career debut at Presque Isle Downs, but Ritter believes that he, too, has talent.

Purim comes back around

Purim ran dismally this past May in the Hanshin Cup, took most of the summer off, and was only an even fifth in his comeback race at Woodbine. But he took a step in the right direction Sunday at Arlington, winning an overnight turf stakes by a measured length. His time of 1:41.20 for 1 1/16 miles was fast, but so was the Arlington turf course on closing weekend.

"He was supposed to win, and he did, but I don't know what he beat in there," said trainer Tom Proctor. "It looks like he ran fast, but they ran fast the day before, too."

Purim has run well on both turf and dirt, at distances between seven furlongs and 1 1/16 miles, and Proctor has plenty of upcoming options for the horse. Specific plans, however, have yet to be formalized - beyond the fact that Purim is supposed to stand stud beginning this winter.

Proctor, meanwhile, will split his stable between Kentucky and Oklahoma this fall, and like last season will have winter strings at both Tampa Bay Downs and Fair Grounds.

Lopez not quite ready to return

Uriel Lopez had hoped to make the start of the Hawthorne meet after going down in a spill in August at Arlington, but Lopez still has a cast on a broken thumb, and fractured ribs that aren't completely healed. His agent, John Christiano, said Lopez could begin exercising horses at the end of this month, but probably wouldn't be ready for race-riding until mid-October.

Cecilio Penalba, who was having a decent Arlington meet before going down when his mount clipped heels, will take longer to get back in the saddle. Penalba has fractures in his back that need time to heal. His agent, Oscar Sanchez, said he anticipated a December return and that Penalba was likely to surface at Tampa, not Hawthorne.

* The Saturday Hawthorne feature, race 3, is an entry-level sprint allowance for 2-year-old fillies. A Tom Swearingen-trained entry of Barely a Memory and Marikitten could vie for favoritism with Sarahlinds Sister.

* Dreaming of Anna and Dreaming of Liz both worked five furlongs under jockey Eddie Razo on Thursday at Arlington. Dreaming of Anna was clocked in 1:00.20, Dreaming of Liz in 1:01.40.