08/17/2004 11:00PM

Yearly Report brings Baffert east

Benoit & Associates
The Bob Baffert-trained filly Yearly Report will try for her fifth straight stakes victory at her fifth different track in Saturday's Alabama.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - When he runs a horse in a stakes in New York, trainer Bob Baffert usually leaves the saddling responsibilities to his New York assistant, Tonja Terranova. But on Saturday, Baffert will make the trip from California to saddle Yearly Report in the Grade 1, $750,000 Alabama. Baffert won the 1999 Alabama with Silverbulletday, who was crowned champion 3-year-old filly at the end of the year.

"Bob's really excited about [Yearly Report]; it's his big filly," Terranova said.

A daughter of General Meeting, Yearly Report has won 5 of 6 starts and has one second. Yearly Report's last four wins have come in stakes at different tracks. She won the Grade 2 Santa Ynez at Santa Anita, the Melair at Hollywood Park, the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico, and Grade 2 Delaware Oaks at Delaware Park.

After winning the Delaware Oaks on July 17, Yearly Report joined Terranova's barn and has really thrived in Saratoga.

"She really likes it here and has been training great over the main track," Terranova said. "She's eating and acting very well."

Jerry Bailey will ride Yearly Report in the 1 1/4-mile Alabama.

A Song in A Minor, who was considered a probable for the Alabama, will not run. A Song in A Minor's trainer, Salvador Gonzalez, informed the racing office his filly tied up - a condition similar to muscle cramps - and wouldn't make the trip from California.

A solid field, headed by Ashado, is expected for the Alabama. Others pointing to the race are Stellar Jayne, Society Selection, A Lulu ofa Menifee, Fleet Indian, Last Song, Honor Point, and Susan's Angel.

Wild Nature preps for Hopeful

Wild Nature, who will make his stakes debut in Saturday's $250,000 Hopeful, worked three furlongs on Wednesday, according to his trainer, George Mikhalides. His time was not recorded on the work tab, but Mikhalides said Wild Nature went "an easy 37."

Wild Nature won his career debut by 5 3/4 lengths over next-out winner Silver Moose in a six-furlong race at Calder on June 26. In Wild Nature's next start, he finished second in an allowance race here on Aug. 4, beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Storm Surge, who also will run in the Grade 1 Hopeful.

Mikhalides said that Wild Nature, a son of Dubai World Cup winner Singspiel, will improve as the distances of his races increase.

"I think he will be much better stretching out; the seven furlongs will suit him," said Mikhalides. "I think his last race moved him up a little bit [mentally]. The Hopeful is a tough spot with Afleet Alex and Devils Disciple, but I know my horse is good, even if he doesn't have a lot of experience."

Richard Migliore will ride Wild Nature.

In addition to Wild Nature, Afleet Alex, Devils Disciple, and Storm Surge, the Hopeful field is expected to attract Consolidator, Flamenco, and Winning Expression.

Funny Cide ready for Saratoga debut

Funny Cide completed preparations for Sunday's $250,000 Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap by working five furlongs in 59.22 seconds Wednesday morning over Saratoga's main track.

Jockey Edgar Prado, who will ride Funny Cide on Sunday, was aboard for the move, which equaled the fourth fastest of 47 recorded at the distance. It was the fifth workout for Funny Cide since he returned from a brief respite following his narrow loss to Peace Rules in the Suburban Handicap on July 3.

Trainer Barclay Tagg said he couldn't be happier with how Funny Cide is doing leading up to his first start at Saratoga.

"Everything has gone like clockwork,'' Tagg said. "Every scheduled workday we had a nice track. He's responded well, he looks great, feels great. I told the owners that if God looked down through the clouds and asked if you wanted to change anything I'd say, No, it's all just gone perfect.''

Even the weather forecast is favorable for Sunday: partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the mid- to upper 70's.

Several of Funny Cide's challengers also worked on Wednesday. Alumni Hall, winner of the Black Tie Affair Stakes in his last start, was credited with the same time as Funny Cide for his five-furlong move. Alumni Hall worked just four days after he breezed six furlongs in 1:17.44 over a muddy track on Sunday.

Trainer Neil Howard said he moved the work up from Thursday because he wanted Alumni Hall to work over a dry track.

Sarava worked four furlongs in 51.25 seconds on Wednesday. Colita, who is listed as possible for the Saratoga Breeders' Cup, worked five furlongs in 1:03.45 over the training track.

Other expected runners for the 1 1/4-mile race include Congrats and Evening Attire. The Lady's Groom and Presidentialaffair are possible.

Asmussen-Sellers team breaks up

Trainer Steve Asmussen and jockey Shane Sellers, who have combined this year to win 88 races, won't be teaming up again for the foreseeable future.

Asmussen and Sellers have had a falling out and Asmussen will be changing riders for several of his horses. They include Bwana Charlie, the Amsterdam winner, who is pointing to the Grade 1 King's Bishop, and Lady Tak, who is pointing to the Grade 1 Ballerina Handicap on Aug. 29. Sellers had ridden both horses in all their starts this year.

Neither Sellers nor Asmussen would be specific about the reasons for the break-up. Last Saturday, Sellers rode the Asmussen-trained Tina Bull, the 4-5 favorite, to a second-place finish in the Ellis Park Breeders' Cup Stakes.

"We're taking a break,'' Asmussen said Wednesday from Dallas. "Shane's a great rider; hopefully, it isn't permanent. There's no good spin on it. Everybody gets tired of me.''

At this meet, Sellers is 5 for 24 for Asmussen, 2 for 33 for everybody else.

"I appreciate the opportunity he gave me," Sellers said. "We did some good, but he's just not happy with what's going on right now.''

Sabellina puts nose in front

Sabellina kept her perfect turf record intact by winning Wednesday's $114,800 Yaddo Handicap by a nose over On the Bus.

The win in the 1 1/8-mile Yaddo was Sabellina's first in a stakes and her fourth on the turf. Ridden by Pat Day, Sabellina ran down On the Bus, the slight 7-2 favorite over the winner, in the final yards. It was another two lengths back to Lady Libby in third in the 11-horse field of New York-bred fillies and mares.

Sabellina, a 3-year-old filly, carried 110 pounds, five fewer than On the Bus.

Sabellina ($9.40) is trained by Joe Aquilino and owned by Jay Lieberman and Mark Scharfman. A daughter of Langfuhr, Sabellina was bred by the late John Valentino.

Sabellina covered the distance in 1:53.06 over a yielding course.

Freeman remains hospitalized

Trainer Mike Freeman is recuperating from injuries he sustained in an accident at his barn on Aug. 9, according to Susie Bricker, who gallops horses for the 75-year-old trainer. Freeman is in the intensive care unit at Saratoga Hospital with multiple fractures he suffered when one of his horses, Georgia Overdrive, ran backward and knocked him down. Bricker said among Freeman's injuries was a broken shoulder, which required surgery.

"I saw him [Wednesday] morning and he is a whole lot better," Bricker said. "He was in good spirits."

Georgia Overdrive, a 2-year-old filly trained by Freeman, finished last in Wednesday's second race after acting up in the post parade and unseating jockey Ray Ganpath.

* Badge of Silver, who scratched out of an allowance race last Friday, worked six furlongs in 1:10.65 over the main track. Badge of Silver has not run since the General George Handicap in February at Laurel Park. His next start is not yet determined.

* Pomeroy, the runner-up in the Amsterdam, worked five furlongs in 57.52 seconds over the main track. It was the fastest of 47 works at the distance. He is being pointed to the Grade 1 King's Bishop here on Aug. 28.

- additional reporting by David Grening