06/26/2003 11:00PM

Youcan'ttakeme to miss Irish Day

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AUBURN, Wash. - Round 2 of the budding rivalry between Youcan'ttakeme and Bisbee's Prospect, the ranking 3-year-old fillies on the grounds, will not take place in Sunday's $40,000 Irish Day Handicap at Emerald Downs.

Youcan'ttakeme, a decisive winner of Round 1 in last month's Federal Way Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs, will skip the Irish Day after missing about a week of training with a minor injury.

"She rapped a tendon in her stall and it filled up, but the ultrasound showed no tears and the filling went away," trainer Grant Forster said. "She's fine now. She went back to the track on Wednesday, but I didn't even nominate her for the race on Sunday. We'll still be able to get a prep into her before the Washington Oaks on Aug. 23, and the Oaks is her main goal."

Bob McMeans, who trains Bisbee's Prospect for Jerre Paxton's Northwest Farms, had mixed feelings about Youcan'ttakeme's absence in the Irish Day.

"I hate to see any horse get hurt, but it's not like I'm going to miss her on Sunday," he said. "This will be Bisbee's Prospect's first route race of the year, and I'm not sorry that she won't have to hook into Youcan'ttakeme."

Bisbee's Prospect, a half-sister to local stakes winner Taste the Passion by Smart Strike, tried two turns once as a juvenile, finishing third as the favorite in the one-mile Barbara Shinpoch Stakes. It was hardly a fair test of her route ability, however.

"Her air passage was blocked in that race," McMeans said. "She was in distress, and when the vet examined her afterward he couldn't believe she finished the race. We had her throat operated on and gave her the rest of the year off, and she hasn't had any problems this year.

Although Bisbee's Prospect is unproven beyond 6 1/2 furlongs, McMeans said he is confident she will be effective at a distance.

"She is bred to go long, and she trains like a route horse," he said. "It would have been nice to be able to run her a mile before asking her to go 1 1/16 miles, but I think she'll handle the distance fine if she relaxes. She wouldn't relax in the Federal Way and it cost her, but we've been working on getting her to relax in the morning, and she seems to be getting the hang of it. We'll find out for sure on Sunday."

Bisbee's Prospect's main competition figures to come from Top Penny, who edged her for second in the Federal Way and then finished a distant second to Youcan'ttakeme in the restricted Son of Briartic Stakes at a mile on June 1. Trainer Doug Driever said he was planning to hold Top Penny out of the Irish Day until he learned that Youcan'ttakeme would not be nominated.

"I decided I wasn't going to chase Youcan'ttakeme anymore," he said. "I had actually turned Top Penny out. She had been on the farm for a week, but I brought her back in last Friday and on Saturday she worked a half mile in 46.20. I think the week away actually did her quite a bit of good.

"She is plenty fit, and I think it will help that she has already run a mile. What will help even more is that it looks like there is plenty of speed in this race. She really wants to drop back and make one run, but we've had to hustle her along to keep tabs on Youcan'ttakeme in her last two tries, and that's just not her style. I don't think she has shown her best stuff yet.

"She has run in every stakes here, and she has gotten a piece of all of them, but it sure would be nice to see her win one. Maybe Sunday will be her day."

Barnmates strong in workouts

The defending Longacres Mile champion, Sabertooth, and the current divisional leader, Turban, stablemates in the barn of trainer Jim Penney and assistant trainer Kay Cooper, both worked under regular exercise rider Bryson Cooper on Tuesday morning in preparation for the Independence Day Handicap on July 4.

"First I worked Sabertooth, and I two-minute-licked him from the seven-furlong marker to the half-mile pole, then he came home in 46.60," rider Bryson Cooper said. "I took him back to the barn, and I told Kay that Sabertooth has picked it up a notch.

"Then I did the same thing with Turban, only I just worked him from the three-furlong marker, and he went in 34.60, just as easy as you please. When I took him back to the barn, I told Kay that Turban has picked it up two notches.

"They're both doing really well, but Turban is developing so fast it's scary."

All of the fractions of Turban's exercise were recorded, and his official workout on Tuesday was listed as six furlongs in 1:13.60.