09/04/2003 11:00PM

Aeneas looks far and wide for next spot


MIAMI - Trainer Marty Wolfson will go shopping around for Aeneas's next start, and he plans to let the market dictate what direction the multiple graded stakes-placed Aeneas will head later this month.

Wolfson will limit his choices for Aeneas to three: The Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont on Sept. 27; the Grade 2, $750,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup on Sept. 28; and the Grade 3, $400,000 Meadowlands Cup on Oct. 3.

"We'll go wherever it looks like it's coming up the easiest," said Wolfson. "The Hawthorne Gold Cup is probably our first choice, but I won't send him there if both Perfect Drift and Tenpins are in the race. If only one of the two head to Chicago then in all likelihood so will we."

Aeneas finished second, beaten five lengths by Perfect Drift, in the Washington Park Handicap. He was also second, a length behind Tenpins, in the Iselin.

"The handicap division is so spread out right now," said Wolfson. "There are only five starters in the Woodward Saturday and one standout, Mineshaft. If the same situation were to occur for the Jockey Club Gold Cup we could wind up in New York."

Aeneas - a son of Capote - is winless this year. His last victory came on the final day of 2002, when he won a second-level optional claiming race at Calder by 3 1/2 lengths.

Aeneas is owned by his breeders, Ed and Patricia Pavlish.

Gun Deck Handicap doesn't fill

With Aeneas looking for bigger worlds to conquer and both Best of the Rest and The Judge Sez Who sidelined since the spring, the local handicap division has thinned out over the summer. On Monday, the Miami Breeders' Cup Mile was switched from the turf to the main track and attracted some horses that would have run in Sunday's scheduled feature, the $40,000 Gun Deck Handicap. As a result, the Gun Deck failed to fill. The overnight stakes was to serve as a prep for the Grade 3 Spend a Buck Handicap on Oct. 11.

Sunday's main event instead will be a second-level optional claiming race that drew a field of seven older horses led by Alumni and Sunny Approval.

Manuel Martinez joins jockey colony

The jockey colony continues to grow. The newest addition is Manuel Martinez, who has won four riding titles in Chile, and in 2002 was ranked the top rider in his country. He accepted his first mount here on Saturday, for trainer Angel Salinas.

Martinez, 23, has already won more than 1,300 races, according to his agent, Bernie Gonzales. He came to the U.S. at the behest of his godfather, jockey Jose Santos, and rode several races at Saratoga while visiting Santos last month in New York.

* Best of the Rest, who has not started since winning the Grade 3 Skip Away Handicap at Gulfstream on April 20, was back on the work tab for the first time Friday morning, breezing three furlongs in 35.80 seconds.