10/15/2008 12:00AM

Wildeyedsouthernboy tries dirt in allowance


STICKNEY, Ill. - There was nowhere to go but up for an Illinois-bred 3-year-old gelding named Wildeyedsouthernboy.

Out on the Arlington track for his career debut back in June, Wildeyedsouthernboy went through saddling in the paddock, the trip through the tunnel out onto the racetrack, and the post parade before his first crowd of onlookers without a hitch. This was no surprise to trainer Hugh Robertson, who had no concerns leading the horse over for the first time.

"He really never does anything wrong," Robertson said.

But loosening up before the race, Wildeyedsoutherboy suddenly pitched jockey Rene Douglas off his back and headed up the horse path toward the barn area. Bad behavior? Not exactly.

"A bird flew out of some bushes and hit him right in the head," Robertson explained, reached Wednesday at Keeneland. "He reared back, and Douglas fell off. He's not crazy or anything; it wasn't his fault. I guess if you get hit in the head with a bird, it scares you."

Free of avian incident, Wildeyedsouthernboy actually made it to the gate on June 19. And wouldn't you know - the horse can run. He won his career debut and then ran right through his first and second Illinois-bred allowance conditions at Arlington. Friday at Hawthorne, Wildeyedsouthernboy finds himself in the featured fifth race, a third-level allowance sprint also open to $40,000 claimers.

After pulling off the hat trick to start his career, Wildeyedsouthernboy tasted defeat Sept. 21, but that race - a ninth-place finish in an open turf-sprint allowance - can be discounted.

"He didn't like the soft turf, so you got to throw that out," Robertson said. "But he's never run on the dirt either, so who knows."

Robertson actually is staying busy in Kentucky this fall. He brought 20 horses to Keeneland, and through last week's racing had won with 2 of 5 starters there. As an Illinois-bred, Wildeyedsouthernboy has more business being at Hawthorne, and he looks like a main contender in an eight-horse field Friday.

The race appears to be loaded with early speed, and Wildeyedsouthernboy's stalking style could play well, provided he handles dirt. And speaking of dirt, Big Rushlet, who runs under the $40,000 claiming option, should be glad to get back on it. Big Rushlet has gone winless in eight all-weather-surface starts, but is 4 for 10 on dirt tracks and fits well in the Friday feature.

Block keeping pair in Kentucky

Two Chris Block-trained Illinois-breds who raced in Keeneland stakes are staying put in Kentucky for now, Block said Wednesday. Amazing Results, who just missed winning the Perryville Stakes on Saturday at Keeneland, finishing a close second to Hatta Fort, is scheduled to stable at Churchill Downs along with the 2-year-old Giant Oak, whose brutal trip cost him any chance in the Oct. 5 Bourbon, a turf stakes.

Amazing Results, a 3-year-old who seems to run on any surface, will switch from one-turn, middle-distance Polytrack races in his last two starts to two turns on turf in the Commonwealth Stakes next month at Churchill.

"He still hasn't really had a true chance on turf," Block said. "I think we'll run him in the Commonwealth, then put him away and freshen him up for his 4-year-old season."

Amazing Results has won 4 of 7 starts this year and in his career has finished first or second in 9 of 11 outings.

Giant Oak, who debuted with a two-turn turf win and then won a Polytrack route, will train over the Churchill dirt track, and, if he appears to handle the surface, will start in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. If Giant Oak doesn't satisfy his connections in his dirt training, he could be re-routed to the Grand Canyon Stakes on the Churchill grass course, Block said.

Shadowbdancing looking for a race

Hawthorne in the fall is no hotbed of young talent, but visually, Hawthorne's fifth race on Sept. 29, 2007, a two-turn, 2-year-old maiden race, looked like a decent race. History has born out that impression. Recapturetheglory, who won that race 13 months ago, captured the Illinois Derby here in April and finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby before tailing off. And the horse he narrowly edged, Shadowbdancing, also has panned out. Racing at Prairie Meadows to avoid Arlington's all-weather track, which he dislikes, Shadowbdancing won the $54,000 Prairie Mile on June 7 at odds of 18-1, and on Sept. 20, he took the $75,000 Prairie Meadows Derby at odds of 23-1.

Now, Shadowbdancing is lodged at Hawthorne again, and trainer Terrel Gore is hoping to run the colt once more this year before getting ready for Shadowbdancing's 4-year-old campaign.

"I'm really looking forward to next year," Gore said. "He's been improving both physically and mentally. I'd love for him to get one more start this year running out of his own stall."

Gore hopes a fourth-level two-turn allowance race will come up sometime in late November or December for Shadowbdancing. If it does, the horse will be ready, with two October works over a Hawthorne surface he's already shown he handles.

Board overturns April disqualification

The Illinois Racing Board, in a regularly scheduled monthly meeting Tuesday, overturned a controversial disqualification from last April at Hawthorne. Island Miss had been disqualified from first to sixth for interference in a claiming race on April 13, but the board, after hearing an appeal from owner-trainer Owen Rainwater, overturned the disqualification and restored the original order of finish.

Such reversals from state racing boards are unusual. The last time the Illinois board overturned a disqualification was in April 2005, when it reversed a disqualification from the summer before.