10/08/2002 11:00PM

Zavata, recovered from ankle injury, looks right on target

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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Trainer Patrick Biancone's three Breeders' Cup hopefuls had routine gallops here Wednesday - their second trip over the surface after arriving here Monday - and all have important breezes scheduled for this weekend.

Zavata was withdrawn from the Champagne Stakes last weekend because of an ankle injury, but has recovered from the setback and is scheduled to work here Sunday. Zavata galloped late Wednesday morning, his third day of exercise since he returned to training Monday, Biancone said. Zavata was found to have swelling in a hind ankle two days before the Champagne and was forced to miss the race.

Biancone theorized that Zavata's ankle swelled after he kicked a wall in his stall. "He was already fit to race, so this was really minor," he said.

Zavata will be joined in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile by Whywhywhy, winner of the Grade 1 Futurity in his last start. Whywhywhy will work Saturday.

Biancone also plans to start Stellar in the Juvenile Fillies. Since Stellar lacks graded stakes earnings she might not get into an oversubscribed field, but as of Wednesday only seven fillies were considered definite starters and five others possible. If Stellar is excluded, Biancone will enter her in a listed stakes race on Breeders' Cup weekend.

Biancone said a couple of his 2-year-old maidens should race here in the coming two weeks, and that Saratoga maiden winner Prince in Command will race in a minor stakes Oct. 25.

Caucus given extended vacation

Caucus, one of the more impressive 2-year-old maiden winners at the meet, has been turned out and will return for a 3-year-old campaign, trainer Mike Stidham said.

Caucus shipped to Keeneland for the Alcibiades Stakes last Friday, but broke last, raced very wide, and tired to fifth after making a strong mid-race move.

"The Breeders' Cup was our main objective, but what can you do off a debacle like that?" Stidham said. "There's no point in beating her up now. She can grow up and hopefully come back strong next year."

Where's Taylor retired

Where's Taylor, a graded stakes winner of more than $700,000, has been retired from racing, his trainer, Hilary Pridham, said. A 6-year-old gelding owned by Barry Golden, Where's Taylor last raced in April, but troublesome ankles will keep him from resuming his career.

"I don't want to bring him back as a claimer," said Pridham. "Fortunately, Barry feels the same way. He's been good to us."

Golden purchased Where's Taylor privately during the winter of 2000, and in his second start for Golden, Where's Taylor finished second to Brave Act in the Explosive Bid Handicap at Fair Grounds. Where's Taylor never broke through with a major win, and just missed in several Grade 2 races.

Solid field for Manila

The $75,000 Manila for 2-year-olds on turf is the only Arlington stakes this weekend, but despite its modest purse the race is coming together with a strong field.

As of Wednesday, a field of about eight was expected, headed by Zydeco Affair, winner of the $100,000 El Joven at Retama Park in his last start. But while Zydeco Affair is 2 for 2 on grass with a stakes win, the horse to beat in the Manila may well be Newsbreak, who was traveling here from Maryland by van on Wednesday.

Newsbreak narrowly won his career debut at Colonial Downs, but was very impressive in a Belmont turf allowance win Sept. 13.

"There were races for him at Keeneland and in New York, but the timing of this race is good," trainer Graham Motion said. "I thought this would be a better spot for him."

The other probable starters are Come Back Now, Dr. Phil, High Octave, Mr Mississippi, Our Only Option, and Road Town.

Better spot for Sherry Spinner

Sherry Spinner should win Arlington's featured seventh race on Friday, a second-level allowance for fillies at about one mile on turf. But then Sherry Spinner should also have won her last start on Sept. 14, though she didn't.

Out of action since a big turf win last Dec. 16 at Calder, Sherry Spinner returned for owner Frank Calabrese and trainer Wayne Catalano in a five-furlong open allowance on turf. Away from the gate in mid-pack, Sherry Spinner was rushed up the rail to take an early lead, but she went too fast, too soon, and was caught in deep stretch by a more experienced rival.

Friday, Sherry Spinner returns to the second-level allowance condition and stretches out to a mile, a distance that actually should suit her better than the abbreviated trip in her last start. Leading rider Rene Douglas picks up the mount.

If Sherry Spinner is upset, it may be by Attico, who looked good in an overnight stakes here July 28 and was beaten less than four lengths by Little Treasure in the Grade 3 Pucker Up on Sept. 14.

* Two Item Limit, a candidate for the Breeders' Cup Distaff, breezed five furlongs in 1:04 here Tuesday. Two Item Limit started her work slowly but finished well over a track that produced modest workout times throughout the morning.