Frank Stronach's classic-winning Red Bullet worked toward his anticipated start in next month's Donn Handicap (gr. I) Wednesday morning, getting five furlongs in 1:03, breezing. In other news, Mongoose, who defeated Monarchos last weekend, may get a start in the Donn; and Beatrice Oxenberg's Best of the Rest, prepares for Gulfstream Park's signature race for older horses.
Trainer Joe Orseno had Red Bullet, the 2000 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner, on the track Wednesday morning. Jockey Jerry Bailey was aboard the son of Unbridled as he prepped for the nine-furlong Donn that will be run Feb. 9.
"Jerry wanted to get on him this morning," Orseno said. "He worked fine and I'm satisfied with the workout. He's healthy and our plans are still to run him in the Donn next month."
Red Bullet won his only start at Gulfstream in 2000 and was laid off for almost a year. In 2001, he won a race at Belmont Park, finished fifth in the Woodward Stakes (gr. I) on Sept. 8, and was third in the Cigar Mile (gr. I) at Aqueduct on Nov. 24. In is 2002 debut, he finished second, beaten a half-length by the 9-year-old Sir Bear, in the 1 1/16-mile Skip Away Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream on Jan. 12.
"We trained him for a mile and a sixteenth and he almost got there," Orsenso said of Red Bullet's Skip Away effort. "It wasn't a peak performance and he got a little tired at the end. I think he'll move forward off that race and would like to have him peaking for the Donn."
Bailey, who rode Red Bullet in the Skip Away, said after the race, "He didn't break well and we dropped too far back early. He rallied like I wanted, but it took too much out of him and he got tired. He just had to much to overcome off a lay-off."
Gary L. and Mary E. West's Mongoose, who handily defeated last year's Kentucky Derby and Florida Derby (both gr. I) winner Monarchos in a Gulfstream allowance race last Saturday, is now being considered for the Donn.
Trainer H. James Bond, has another Donn threat in Ubiquity, another West-owned horse who won Churchill Downs Clark Handicap (gr. II) in his last start on Nov. 23.
"I'm nominating Ubiquity to the Donn, and I'll probably nominate the other horse (Mongoose) as well," said Bond. "But right now I don't think I'll run both of them. I'll send one of them to California, and there's also a race in New Orleans we're looking at. At the moment, I don't yet what I'm going to do. I need a couple of days to see how they are doing and then I'll want to take a look at the weights."
Against the odds-on Monarchos, Mongoose pressed the early pace, took command approaching the lane, drew off in upper stretch and increased the margin the rest of the way. The following day, Ubiquity breezed five-eighths of a mile in 1:02 at Payson Park. "It was a good work for him," said Bond. "It was exactly what I was looking for and I was quite pleased with it.
"Edgar Prado will most likely be the rider on my horse in the Donn," said Bond.
In other Donn news, Beatrice Oxenberg's Best of the Rest worked five furlongs in 1:12 handily at Calder last Friday in preparation for his anticipated start in the Donn. "I was satisfied with the way he worked, and we're going ahead with plans to run him in the Donn," said trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. "He came out of the work a hundred per cent and we'll probably work him again (this) Thursday or Friday."