05/27/2005 11:00PM

Wiggins may have another Chorwon


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Hal Wiggins knows a little something about hard-knocking grass horses, having trained Chorwon, who in 2001 captured a graded stakes at the ripe old age of 8.

Now Wiggins is stepping forth with Rapid Proof, a 5-year-old gelding whom Wiggins has entered in Monday's Louisville Handicap at Churchill Downs.

"He's sound as a dollar and just now maturing into a top horse," said Wiggins. "Obviously, I'd love to have him around as long as we had Chorwon."

Chorwon, an earner of $1.16 million in a 44-race career that ended in March 2002, always seems to get a mention whenever the Louisville Handicap is at hand, and for good reason. Chorwon won the Louisville three straight times - in 1997, 1998, and 1999.

Wiggins is hoping for a similar run of success with Rapid Proof, who since last fall has been so good and so consistent that he is now regarded as one of the top turf horses in the Midwest. In his last two starts, Rapid Proof, bred and owned by Dolph Morrison, captured the March 19 Mervin Muniz at Fair Grounds and the April 9 John Connelly at Sam Houston.

"We thought about the Woodford Reserve for him, but he wasn't nominated," Wiggins said, referring to the race on the May 7 Kentucky Derby undercard, "and he also had a fairly serious skin rash that took ahold of him pretty good at the time. I didn't think it'd be a good idea to lead him over there Derby Day looking like he did."

Wiggins said he is looking for another big run from Rapid Proof, who is coming off a seven-week layoff. "He's really put together a string of races where he's been there every time," he said. "And I'd sure like to continue our run of luck in the Louisville."

Woodard: No starters until Thursday

Trainer Joe Woodard's track-record nine-race winning streak will remain intact at least until Thursday. Woodard had no horses entered here Saturday, Sunday, or Monday, and Churchill goes dark for two days before racing resumes Thursday.

Woodard won two races Thursday, with Native Bull and Quick Blend, to break Pat Byrne's Churchill record of eight straight wins, set in 1997. Woodard scratched his two scheduled starters last Wednesday and his lone scheduled starter last Friday.

Summerly's next may be Dogwood

Summerly, winner of the May 6 Kentucky Oaks, could make her next start June 11 in the $150,000 Dogwood Breeders' Cup Stakes at Churchill, said trainer Steve Asmussen.

Following the Oaks, Asmussen said Summerly would probably wait for the June 25 Mother Goose at Belmont. But with Summerly ensnared in quarantine restrictions at Churchill and her training limited in the last two weeks, Scott Blasi, Asmussen's Churchill assistant, said, "She needs to run because of everything that's happened."

The quarantine order, which was put in effect May 17 by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture following a reported outbreak of equine herpes virus, is expected to end Friday.

If Summerly runs in the Dogwood, she would be the first Oaks winner to run in the Dogwood since Gal in a Ruckus won both races in 1995.

Madcap Escapade back to work

Madcap Escapade, fifth as the 2-5 favorite in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff on the Derby undercard, had her first workout since that defeat, breezing a half-mile here Saturday morning in 50.40 seconds over a fast track.

Trainer Frank Brothers said he will take his time in deciding the next start for Madcap Escapade, who has won 6 of 8 career starts.

* Sweet Talker, the heavy favorite under Brice Blanc, turned back a steady stretch challenge from Royal Bean to capture the $70,510 allowance feature here Friday by a half-length.

Sweet Talker, making her first start since winning the May 6 Edgewood Stakes, returned $2.80 after finishing 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.41 over a firm turf.

* Earlier Friday, jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. enjoyed his best day of the spring meet by riding three winners. Also, apprentice Jordan Charkoudian won for the first time at Churchill, guiding Katze Frau to a neck triumph in the Friday opener. Charkoudian now has 20 career wins.