03/11/2009 12:00AM

West Side Bernie will travel

Email

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Kelly Breen has confirmed that West Side Bernie will make his next start in the Grade 2 Lane's End at Turfway Park on March 21 rather than remain in south Florida to await the Grade 1 Florida Derby the following weekend.

West Side Bernie finished third making his 3-year-old debut in the Grade 3 Holy Bull on Jan. 31. The performance was a good one considering West Side Bernie broke from post 9, a decided disadvantage in 1 1/8-mile races at Gulfstream Park, and was hung wide the entire trip while also conceding eight pounds to the winner, Saratoga Sinner, and six pounds to runner-up Bears Rocket.

Breen said several factors went into his decision, not the least of which is that West Side Bernie should already have enough graded earnings to secure a spot in the Kentucky Derby field.

"By finishing second in the Delta Jackpot, it gives me the luxury of not having to push him too hard this winter," said Breen. "In addition, even though from what I'm hearing it looks like the field for the Florida Derby might be coming up on the short side, I really don't want to take a chance we could draw a bad post again going a mile and one-eighth over that track. And it still looks like the Florida Derby will come up tougher than the Lane's End."

West Side Bernie has already proven he can handle the synthetic surface at Turfway Park, having won the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Juvenile by three widening lengths there in his second start. Breen has secured the services of Edgar Prado for the Lane's End.

Breen also said that Atomic Rain, who had been on the Derby trail this winter, will likely remain in the allowance ranks for the time being. Atomic Rain, runner-up behind Old Fashioned in the Grade 2 Remsen at 2, finished third after appearing on his way to a victory turning for home in a 1 1/8-mile allowance race here last week.

"He moved to the lead easily into the stretch, then lost his focus, drifted out, and it cost him the race," said Breen. "I put blinkers on him after he did pretty much the same thing after taking the lead into the stretch in his first start here this winter."

Both West Side Bernie and Atomic Rain are owned by George and Lori Hall.

Just a Coincidence gives Zito hope

Just a Coincidence won his second straight race on Wednesday and will most likely get a shot to join the Triple Crown trail in his next start. A 3-year-old son of Forestry, Just a Coincidence won a first-level allowance race by 1 3/4 lengths over Gone Astray, running one mile in 1:36.85. Paco Lopez rode the winner for trainer Nick Zito and owner Robert LaPenta. The victory came 19 days after Just a Coincidence won a mile maiden race here on Feb. 21.

Just a Coincidence made a move between horses to gain a contending position, then opened up in the stretch despite failing to change leads until nearing the finish line.

"He's done that twice now," Zito said. "I'm hoping its just greenness."

Zito said that Just a Coincidence probably would not wheel back in the Florida Derby here on March 28, but could run the following week in a race like the Grade 1, $750,000 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 4.

"That sounds good to me - I'm always knocking on wood anyway," Zito said.

"He sure looked good today. That's a nice horse he beat today, too. I got a lot of respect for that horse."

Cool Coal Man draws rail for Handicap

Cool Coal Man will put his perfect 3-for-3 record at this track on the line Saturday when he faces six rivals in the Grade 2, $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap.

Cool Coal Man drew the rail for the one-turn mile race, which did not particularly thrill his trainer, Zito, even though Just a Coincidence had just won a one-mile race from the rail Friday. Further, Cool Coal Man had the rail for both of his victories at Gulfstream last year, including the Fountain of Youth. But those two races were around two turns, where the rail is considered an advantage.

Cool Coal Man broke from post 2 when he won an allowance race by 2 1/4 lengths here on Jan. 28. He ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.68 and earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 107. Jose Lezcano will ride.

"We're disappointed with the post, but the horse couldn't be doing any better," Zito said. "He loves Gulfstream, he's a quality horse, always was. Hopefully, he could win the Gulfstream Park Handicap and add that to his Fountain of Youth."

Cool Coal Man's opponents will include How's Your Halo, upset winner of the Grade 2 Richter Scale last month; Bribon, a sharp allowance winner here on Feb. 12; Formidable, who has gone 2 for 2 here this winter; Finallymadeit, the runner-up in the Donn; and Smooth Air, who won the Grade 2 Hutcheson here last winter.

Einstein getting time on farm

Einstein, winner of the Santa Anita Handicap on Saturday, returned to trainer Helen Pitts's barn at Gulfstream on Tuesday. Pitts said Einstein would remain in town for about a week before heading to Kentucky.

"He'll spend a couple of weeks on the farm doing some swimming when he gets back to Kentucky," said Pitts. "We did the same thing with him after he won the Clark. I'll pick him up about the first of April when we head back to Churchill Downs."

Pitts said she has nothing definite picked out for Einstein's next start.

Notonthesamepage aimed at Derby Trial

Trainer Wesley Ward said Notonthesamepage will make his next start in the 7 1/2-furlong Derby Trial on opening day at Churchill Downs, April 25. Notonthesamepage, who earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 114 winning the six-furlong Spectacular Bid Stakes by eight lengths here on opening day, was found to have bled badly after finishing seventh in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth.

"He's up in Ocala right now undergoing treatments in the hyperbaric chamber and will come back to continue training here in about a week," said Ward.

Hallandale Beach rematch in Palm Beach

Duke of Homberg and Lime Rickey, the one-two finishers from last month's Hallandale Beach Stakes for 3-year-olds, will meet again in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Palm Beach Stakes.

The Palm Beach will be run at 1 1/8 miles, a sixteenth of a mile longer than the Hallandale Beach, which will be an advantage for Lime Rickey, said his trainer, Frank Alexander.

Chris DeCarlo will ride Duke of Homberg in place of Alan Garcia, who rode the colt in the Hallandale Beach. Garcia is riding Nowhere to Hide in Saturday's Tampa Bay Derby.

Beacon Hill Road, fourth to the top two in the Hallandale Beach, is also running in the Palm Beach. Rounding out the field are Sweetlandofliberty, Stormalory, Casey's on Call, and El Crespo.

* Quality Road breezed a half-mile in 50 seconds at the Palm Meadows training center on Wednesday, his first work since registering an impressive victory in the Fountain of Youth. Quality Road and the undefeated Dunkirk are expected to top a small field in the $750,000 Florida Derby on March 28, which also figures to include Theregoesjojo and Beethoven.

* Arson Squad, prepping for the $6 million Dubai World Cup on March 28, worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 Wednesday under jockey Edgar Prado. Arson Squad worked in company with the horse Gran Estrino, who worked in 1:02. Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said Arson Squad and Kip Deville would both work Tuesday morning before departing for Dubai later that afternoon.

- additional reporting by David Grening