04/23/2009 11:00PM

Wicked B. Havior gives Tagg a wild card

Email

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Trainer Barclay Tagg entered two horses for Wednesday's Grade 3 Westchester, the opening-day feature at Belmont Park. While the multiple Grade 1 winner Tale of Ekati is the more accomplished of the two horses, the 6-year-old Wicked B. Havior may be the more interesting.

Wicked B. Havior, a son of Unbridled's Song, was away from the races for more than two years because of a soft-tissue injury following back-to-back victories at the Meadowlands in the fall of 2006 for trainer Greg Sacco.

Owners William Schettine and William Haines turned the horse over to Tagg late last year. After running into buzzsaws Biker Boy and Discreet Treasure in a pair of allowance races at Gulfstream, Wicked B. Havior went to Keeneland, where he rolled to a 4 1/2-length score in a second-level allowance over Keeneland's Polytrack.

"We wanted to try him there because we thought he may like the Poly," said Robin Smullen, assistant to Tagg. "It gives you another option. If he likes the Poly he may like the turf as well. I don't think it matters to him what surface he's on, I think he's just a nice horse. Typical Unbridled's Song - he's quite narrow and long, but very, very attractive."

Wicked B. Havior will be making his stakes debut in the Westchester, a one-turn mile race that drew a field of 10. Wicked B. Havior drew post 3 and will be ridden by Edgar Prado, who was aboard for the Keeneland allowance win.

"He's going to be up against it on Wednesday, but that being said, Edgar Prado decided to ride him over 'Ekati,' " Smullen said. "He was very impressed with him."

Tale of Ekati is 2 for 2 at a one-turn mile, including a victory in the Grade 3 Jerome last October at Belmont and the Grade 1 Cigar Mile. His two races this year have been subpar, including a last-place finish in the Carter Handicap last time out.

Smullen said Tale of Ekati was compromised by a poor start in the Carter, but she still expected him to run better than he did. Smullen said for the Westchester Tale of Ekati will be equipped with small-cupped blinkers, known as cheaters, "to see if he can focus a little bit more."

Ramon Dominguez will ride Tale of Ekati, who drew the rail. Outside them, the field, in post position order, is: Cave's Valley, Wicked B. Havior, Spin Master, Discreet Treasure, Per Incanto, Bribon, Wishful Tomcat, Formidable, and Mor Chances.

Tagg also eyes weekend stakes

In addition to Wednesday's Westchester, the Tagg stable is also targeting a couple of the opening weekend stakes at Belmont Park.

Frolic's Dream, who won the Grade 2 Forward Gal at Gulfstream on Jan. 30, will run in next Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Nassau County Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs, while My Princess Jess, a multiple graded stakes winner at 3, will make her 4-year-old debut in the Grade 3, $100,000 Beaugay at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Frolic's Dream was purchased privately by Lael Stables and turned over to Tagg following the Forward Gal. She ran in the Grade 2 Davona Dale, where she finished a well-beaten third behind Justwhistledixie and Casanova Move.

"We only had her 10 days when we ran her. We didn't know her that well, we didn't know her personality," Smullen said. "She is a different horse now than she was then. She never picked the bridle up to gallop, now she's galloping strong, wanting to do things, happy. She's put on 50 pounds.''

Smullen said Rajiv Maragh will ride Frolic's Dream in the Nassau County.

Like Frolic's Dream, My Princess Jess was purchased privately by Lael Stables and turned over to Tagg in the middle of her 3-year-old season. She won the Boiling Springs and Lake George Stakes before suffering narrowing defeats in the Garden City and Queen Elizabeth II, both Grade 1 events. She finished her season with a fifth-place finish as the 7-5 favorite in the Mrs. Revere at Churchill Downs last Nov. 8.

"She probably needs another work or two to be at her peak, but I think she'll run well fresh,'' Smullen said.

Mullins meeting postponed

A hearing of the Barn Area Violations Panel concerning trainer Jeff Mullins was not held as scheduled Friday, at the request of Mullins's attorney, Karen Murphy. No new date has been selected, though it is not expected to be this upcoming week, according to a member of the panel.

Mullins, the trainer of potential Kentucky Derby favorite I Want Revenge, faces sanctions from the violations panel as a result of his treating Gato Go Win in the race-day security barn prior to the April 4 Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct with a medicine called Air Power. NYRA rules do not permit anything other than Lasix to be administered to a horse in the security barn.

Mullins has already received a seven-day suspension and $2,500 fine from the New York State Racing and Wagering Board. He will begin serving the suspension on May 3.

* The undefeated Everyday Heroes was to be scratched from Saturday's Grade 3 Withers Stakes after an endoscopic examination revealed mucus in the colt's lungs, trainer Tim Ritchey said Friday from Delaware Park. Everyday Heroes, who went 3 for 3 at Oaklawn this winter, could be pointed to the Grade 3 Hirsch Jacobs at Pimlico on Preakness Day, Ritchey said.