09/08/2003 11:00PM

Whoopi Cat to miss Matron

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ELMONT, N.Y. - Whoopi Cat and Whywhywhy, two of the better horses in trainer Patrick Biancone's barn, suffered injuries that will keep them out of this weekend's stakes races at Belmont Park.

Whoopi Cat, winner of the Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes in her last start, suffered a bruised right front foot and will miss Sunday's Grade 1, $200,000 Matron for 2-year-old fillies. Biancone said he did not believe the injury would force Whoopi Cat to miss the rest of the year.

"She got a little bruise just at the wrong time," Biancone said Tuesday. "She's much better today, and in a couple of days she'll be sound. She was one work short of making the Matron and she was unable to get that work."

Whoopi Cat, a daughter of Tale of the Cat, is 2 for 2. Biancone said he would not make a decision on when Whoopi Cat would run again until he gets her back in training, but he hoped to make either the Grade 2 Oak Leaf Stakes at Santa Anita on Sept. 28 or the Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont on Oct. 4. His ultimate goal is the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

Meanwhile, Whywhywhy came out of a Sunday workout at Saratoga with an injured stifle in his right hind leg and may not run again this year. Biancone said Tuesday afternoon that the injured stifle has improved, and no decision has been made on Whywhywhy's future.

"My vet said it looked much better this morning," Biancone said.

At 2, Whywhywhy won the Grade 3 Flash and Grade 2 Sanford in addition to the Futurity. He was favored in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile but finished 10th. He is winless in four starts this year.

During to try Jerome

During, who defeated Ten Most Wanted in the Grade 2 Swaps Stakes at Hollywood Park in July, has been an East Coast horse ever since. He is scheduled to make his third start in New York on Saturday in the Jerome, where he will be the starting highweight at 118 pounds.

During, trained by Bob Baffert, shipped east for the Grade 2 Jim Dandy on Aug. 2 and finished last of six, beaten 11 lengths. Three weeks later, he put in an improved effort when fourth, beaten 2 1/4 lengths by Valid Video in the Grade 1 King's Bishop at seven furlongs.

"He was tough to handle before the Jim Dandy and that might have cost him," said John Terranova, who, along with his wife, Tonja, has overseen During's training while he has been in the East. "I think he ran a respectable race in the King's Bishop and he seems to be going in the right direction."

Jose Santos will ride During in the one-mile Jerome. Others pointing to the race, and their weight assignments, are: Region of Merit (117), Ghostzapper (116), Gators N Bears (115), Gigawatt (115), Pretty Wild (116), Irish Road (114), Roses in May (113), and Your Bluffing (113). Distinct Vision (114) and Formal Attire (113) are possible.

Asmussen has options with Lady Tak

Trainer Steve Asmussen said Lady Tak came out of her second-place finish to Buy the Sport in last Saturday's Grade 1 Gazelle Handicap in good order and would wait until she works again to decide on her next start.

Asmussen said the Breeders' Cup Distaff remains an option.

"I've got a few ideas in my head, but I want to watch the mare before I try to decide which one she's up to," Asmussen said.

Meanwhile, Asmussen will be in action in two stakes races at Belmont this weekend. Saturday, he'll run the Argentine-bred mare Bauhauser in the Grade 3, $100,000 Floral Park Handicap at six furlongs. Sunday, he'll send out probable favorite Cuvee in the Grade 1, $200,000 Futurity.

Bauhauser, a multiple group stakes winner in Argentina, has a win and a second in two starts in this country. She is coming off a classified allowance victory at Saratoga Aug. 7.

"I thought she moved up very well from her first race in the States to her second race," Asmussen said. "She's going to have make that same improvement, and we are expecting that."

Expected to run in the Floral Park are Shine Again, Gold Mover or Raging Fever, Forest Heiress, Literary Light, Country Romance, and possibly Mandy's Gold.

Meanwhile, Cuvee continues to do well after his 7 1/2-length victory in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special last month. Sunday, he breezed six furlongs in 1:15.42 over Belmont's main track.

"He's a great horse to be around, very consistent," Asmussen said. "He's got a lot of speed. He ran great in the Saratoga Special and that's all we asked him to do. I'm glad to have the chance to lead him over for the Futurity."

Others pointing to the Futurity are Boston Brahmin, Distressed Debt, El Prado Rob, Flushing Meadows, Tumblebrutus, and Value Plus.

Read the Footnotes aces test

Trainer Rick Violette didn't want Read the Footnotes simply to win an entry-level allowance race last Sunday, he wanted to him to learn something. Violette got everything he wished for when Read the Footnotes, a New York-bred son of Smoke Glacken, came from off the pace to win the seven-furlong race by 2 1/2 lengths. He is now 2 for 2.

"In order for us to move forward we had to experiment and get dirt kicked in his face and see if he'd pass horses," Violette said. "The horse answered all our questions with an A-plus."

Violette was pleased that Read the Footnotes got his last eighth of a mile in 12.79 seconds and also felt good about the final time of 1:23.46.

"That's a very acceptable time for 2-year-olds," he said. "Now we got the schooling under us; it makes us a useful horse. He certainly can be on the lead if there's no pace, and if there is pace he doesn't mind dirt in his face."

Violette said Read the Footnotes could make his next start in either the Grade 1 Champagne here Oct. 4 or the Grade 2 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland on the same day. Some of that may depend on how well Distressed Debt, also trained by Violette, runs in Sunday's Grade 1 Futurity here.

Distressed Debt, a Kentucky-bred son of Smoke Glacken, won his maiden at 31-1 at Saratoga in his second start, running seven furlongs in 1:23.17. He worked six furlongs in 1:13.33 last Saturday at Aqueduct.

Violette said that both Read the Footnotes and Distressed Debt could end up running in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

"Right now, I think they could," said Violette, who trains both horses for Seth Klarman's Klaravich Stables. "It's tough to separate the two. Seth asked me which one I like better; I don't know yet."