|Daily Racing Form|
|Friday, January 7
|Trainer vs. his past|
By Mike Welsch
Daily Racing Form
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -- Trainer Bill White is hoping his past doesn't catch up to him when he runs High Fly in Saturday's $125,000 Aventura Stakes. Run at a mile, Aventura is the first race in the Florida Derby series and drew a full field of 12 3-year-olds.
High Fly, who is undefeated in two starts, will have to contend with two horses whom White trained in 2004: Magoo's Magic, who is now trained by Allen Jerkens, and D'court's Speed, who is trained by Nick Zito.
High Fly has been sensational in his only two starts. He won a six-furlong maiden race by 9 1/4 lengths at Calder on Oct. 9, then returned six weeks later to capture a 6 1/2-furlong first-level allowance race by three lengths. He earned Beyer Speed Figures of 97 and 94 for those victories.
"There hasn't been an opportunity to run him in any capacity since his last race, so I've used this time to freshen him but at the same time keep him ready," said White. "He worked five-eighths earlier this week like a horse who looks like he's ready to do something. What I like about this horse is that he's lightly raced and hasn't been asked to show his best yet. I like this race because it's a one-turn mile, which should be a nice progression to move him to longer distances."
White said he is rooting for his former trainees to run well in the Aventura, so long as they don't beat High Fly.
"Taking the attitude of a professional coach, you wish your former players well but not so well that they beat you," said White. "Magoo's Magic up to this point has come across as a pure sprinter. He has to prove he can go a mile. D'court's Speed has already shown he can go a mile or further. He's particularly dangerous."
Magoo's Magic left White's barn after winning his maiden by 3 1/4 lengths in his second career start at Calder on Sept. 11. After finishing fifth in the Cowdin, his first start for Jerkens, Magoo's Magic bounced back with a gate-to-wire, 3 1/2-length triumph in Aqueduct's six-furlong Huntington Stakes.
D'court's Speed was purchased privately by owner Robert La Penta and transferred to Zito's care last month. He won his maiden at first asking Aug. 14, finished second in both the Seacliff and Foolish Pleasure stakes when stretching around two turns, then finished fifth in the What a Pleasure Stakes in his 2-year-old finale. All four starts came at Calder.
"Bill White did a nice job with him," said Zito. "I trained his father," he said, referring to D'court's Speed's sire, Doneraile Court, "and he was a great miler. We'll see what we have on Saturday."
Completing the Aventura field are Deputy Indy, Rey de Cafe, Magna Graduate, Vinotech, Drum Major, Hal's Image, Cherokee Chase, Wahran, and Ginger's Fella.
Magna Graduate was scratched out of Saturday's Calder Derby on turf and should set an honest pace along with Magoo's Magic. A speedy son of Honor Grades, Magna Graduate will add blinkers after failing to make the lead when finishing fifth in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.
Shake You Down tops Mr. Prospector
Shake You Down, one of the premier sprinters in the country in 2003, will be favored to open his 2005 campaign with a victory in the six-furlong Mr. Prospector.
Shake You Down has won seven races in his career, earned $829,000, and finished third in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Sprint. He made only six starts last year, winning three times, including the Sunshine Millions Sprint here last winter.
"We gave him some time off," said trainer Scott Lake. "He needed his first start back, but he's sharp as ever now. If he runs like I expect on Saturday, we'll send him out to Santa Anita to defend his title in the Sunshine Sprint later this month."
Shake You Down carries high weight of 120 pounds in the Mr. Prospector, conceding from two to eight pounds to a field that includes Strength and Honor, former Canadian champion Wando, Saratoga County, Voodoo, Thunder Touch, All Hail Stormy, Choose, Limehouse, and Deputy Storm.
Limehouse won the Grade 2 Hutcheson Stakes here in February but has not started since finishing sixth, beaten 17 1/4 lengths, in the Ohio Derby on June 12.
Strength and Honor has earned high speed figures winning his last two races, including a 106 in the Distorted Humor Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Voodoo finished second in the Grade 1 Vosburgh but comes off an eighth-place finish in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile on Nov. 27.
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