02/14/2008 12:00AM

Wolfson picks tougher option

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Had he stuck to his original plan, trainer Marty Wolfson probably would have been preparing his top 3-year-old prospect Golden Spikes for a trip to Tampa on Thursday for this weekend's Sam F. Davis Stakes. Instead, Wolfson spent early Thursday morning watching Golden Spikes breeze a half- mile in 48.86 seconds over a good track at Calder in preparation for Gulfstream Park's Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes on Feb. 24.

Golden Spikes, whose owners include major league catcher Paul LoDuca and former pitcher Rob Murphy, earned a spot in the Fountain of Youth after finishing a game second following an extended pace battle going 1 1/8 miles under allowance conditions here Jan. 26.

"He's doing very well," Wolfson said after watching Golden Spikes complete his final quarter-mile in 24.04 and gallop out five-eighths in 1:01.63 over the cuppy going shortly after the renovation break on Thursday. "Our first thoughts were to send him to the Sam Davis and then perhaps on to the Tampa Bay Derby. But his last race was so good over that racetrack at Gulfstream that we decided to give him a chance and see if he belongs with the caliber of competition he'll face in the Fountain of Youth."

Wolfson also paid Golden Spikes a compliment when he compared him to Roman Brother, a horse owned by his father, the late Louis Wolfson of Harbor View Farm fame.

"I remember being around Roman Brother when I was about 12 years old and this colt looks and acts just like him," said Wolfson. "He's built exactly the same, and just like Roman Brother he's got an incredible amount of stamina for his size. He wasn't even blowing when he came back this morning despite working over a pretty deep and tiring racetrack. And I'll always remember Roman Brother winning the Jockey Club Gold Cup, which was run at two miles back in those days."

Wolfson said he plans to work Golden Spikes once more, probably next Tuesday, prior to his stakes debut in the Fountain of Youth. Wolfson added that he has not yet lined up a rider for Golden Spikes.

Day Pass returns on Sunday

Day Pass, once considered a top Kentucky Derby prospect for Sheikh Mohammed's Darley Stable, makes his return to the U.S. in Sunday's second race, a $62,500 optional claimer at seven furlongs.

Day Pass, a son of Five Star Day, opened his career with a pair of impressive victories as a 2-year-old during the fall of 2006. He was sent to Dubai following his easy win in the Grade 3 Nashua at Aqueduct that November, but was unplaced in two starts at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse at 3. He has not started since finishing ninth in the UAE Derby on March 31.

Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Day Pass has posted four works since shipping to south Florida earlier this winter, including a pair of bullet half-mile drills at Palm Meadows. Day Pass will launch his comeback against seven rivals, including the recently stakes-placed He's So Chic.