02/17/2010 12:00AM

Wildcat Frankie joins Hutcheson


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Earlier this week, Gulfstream Park's racing secretary, Dan Bork, feared he might have to hustle just to get six starters for Saturday's $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes. But by the time entries closed early Wednesday afternoon there were eight names in the box, perhaps none more surprising than Wildcat Frankie.

Trainer Jim Hatchett said he planned to pass the seven-furlong Hutcheson several days after Wildcat Frankie's 1 1/4-length victory going a mile on Feb. 6. But after reassessing the race and considering his options, the Grade 2 dash began to look more and more appealing.

"We entered and will take a good look at it anyway," Hatchett said shortly before entries were drawn for the Hutcheson. "A lot of it has to do with post position. He's done super since his last start, and I think it's a big advantage to us to have had a mile race. Turning him back to seven-eighths is a real handicapping edge."

Originally, Hatchett was not completely satisfied with Wildcat Frankie's performance in his last start. Specifically with the way he finished the race.

"He struggled to come down the stretch and get the mile," said Hatchett. "But when you consider he broke a step slow from the rail and had to rush up the inside, he really ran his opening quarter in 23 and change then got pushed through a second quarter in 22 and change. He was classy enough and good enough to win anyway, but if he had a decent post and was able to settle outside, I think we would have looked a lot better doing it."

Hatchett also said it was a long way until his next possible option for Wildcat Frankie, the Grade 2 Swale on March 20.

"The way he came out of this race, I'd hate to have him wait six weeks between starts until the Swale," said Hatchett.

Wildcat Frankie drew post position 5 for the Hutcheson. He will break inside the two likely favorites, multiple Grade 2 winner D' Funnybone and A Little Warm, who captured the Spectacular Bid here early in the meet. D' Funnybone will break from post 7 and A Little Warm on the extreme outside from post 8.

The remainder of the Hutcheson field includes Radiohead, City Trooper, Ibboyee, Sum Champ, and Hear Ye Hear Ye.

Saturday's undercard will also feature the appearance of Courageous Cat, runner-up behind the champion turf filly Goldlikova in the Breeders' Cup Mile. Courageous Cat, who earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 108 for his performance in the Breeders' Cup, will face eight rivals, including the speedy Jet Propulsion fresh off his wire-to-wire, two-length triumph over the local course in the Sunshine Millions Turf.

Amen Hallelujah strong for Davona Dale

There will be four graded stakes on the agenda next weekend, the most attractive of which figures to be the Grade 2 Davona Dale for 3-year-old fillies going a mile. Among the 24 nominees expected to start are Amen Hallelujah, winner of Santa Anita's Grade 2 Santa Ynez in her 2010 debut, and Bickersons who dominated the seven-furlong Old Hat in her 3-year-old bow.

Amen Hallelujah shipped back east to rejoin trainer Rick Dutrow's stable immediately after winning the seven-furlong Santa Ynez and has been training up a storm in preparation for the Davona Dale. On Wednesday, Amen Hallelujah breezed six furlongs in 1:11.83, easily drawing away from her workmate in the final furlong before galloping out seven-eighths in 1:24.93.

One notable nominee who will not run is the 2009 2-year-old filly champion, She Be Wild, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Trainer Wayne Catalano said She Be Wild came out of her disappointing performance in the Old Hat well but that he planned to skip the Davona Dale.

Biancone likes what he sees

Trainer Patrick Biancone, who plans to start his recent maiden-race winner Christine Daae in the Davona Dale, said he was quite pleased with both the performance and the way Never On Sunday has bounced out of his second-place finish in last week's Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap. Never On Sunday rallied wide and from last to finish less than two lengths behind Take the Points, who was ultimately disqualified from first and placed fifth in the Gulfstream Park Turf. The outing was the first in the United States for Never On Sunday and his first since coming under Biancone's tutelage last fall.

"His last few starts in Europe were not good, and he really lost the spirit of the moment," said Biancone. "He was beginning to behave really badly over there and had had enough. But since he ran here, he's been very happy, kicking and playing. He's a top-quality horse, everybody knows that, and I just don't want to bring him back again too quickly."

* Capt. Candyman Can, winner of the 2009 Hutcheson, continues to work forwardly for his return. Capt. Candyman Can breezed a half-mile in 49.30 seconds at Palm Meadows on Wednesday, just his second recorded work since having been freshened following his eighth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.