07/31/2002 11:00PM

After 52 years, it's time to relax

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Scotty Schulhofer was standing on the rail just outside barn 27 as horses went through their paces during training hours here Thursday. For the first time in 52 years, Schulhofer was merely a spectator, enjoying a picture perfect Saratoga summer morning without the pressure of having to make weight or train another stakes horse up to a Grade 1 race.

"I came to Saratoga for the first time as a steeplechase jockey in 1950 and haven't missed a summer since," said Schulhofer, who retired and turned the stable over to his son, Randy, last winter. "Now I sleep as late as I can and then come over to the track in the mornings to see people and enjoy life."

Schulhofer, 76, has had more than his share of memorable moments at the Spa over the past five decades.

"There's been so many it's hard to remember them all," said Schulhofer. "Lemon Drop Kid winning the Whitney and Travers were probably the best of all. I broke my maiden as a rider, over the jumps, here in 1950. Cryptoclearance also broke his maiden here, then was second in the Travers. I thought we were going win that race until Mac [Miller] came and ran us down."

Schulhofer, who now makes his permanent home in south Florida, says he stills enjoys coming to the track in the morning and going to the races in the afternoon but admits the game has changed over the years.

"It used to be a sport when I first begin coming here," said Schulhofer. "Now it's just a business. In the old days people were just happy to be up here and if an owner won a silver cup they were happy. Now it's all about money and not as much fun as it used to be."

Among the horses Schulhofer turned over to his son is Whitmore's Conn, a 4-year-old New York-bred who won the Grade 2 Bowling Green Handicap on July 13 and will make his next start Aug. 10 in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational.

Late surface switch

At the request of track superintendent Jerry Porceilli, stewards took Thursday's eighth race off the turf after wagering had been completed in the pick four and pick six wagers.

The eighth race scratched down to a four-horse field, in which pick four betters were given the post-time favorite. The race was won by Blu Spur ($6.40), the third betting choice. When combined with Hope for Love ($6.10), Awesome of Course ($21.60) and Dovey Love ($8.20), the pick four returned $31,929. The four-horse parlay would have returned $864.

Showers fell during the running of the card, and Porcelli told the stewards the turf course received too much water to be deemed safe to run on. While the stewards could have overruled Porcelli, they decided to heed his advice. The race, scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on turf, was run at 1 1/8 miles over a sealed track.

"How am I going to go against a track superintendent when he makes a statement that the track has too much rain?'' said NYRA steward David Hicks. "We abided by it because if something happened out there we'd be at fault. We can't win.''

The inflated pick four payoff was also due in part to the upset victory by Awesome of Course ($21.60) in the seventh race.

While pick four players were put onto the pst Pick six players are able to make an alternate selection. The pick six went unhit, creating a $47,852 carryover heading into Friday's card.

Aldebaran to get Forego prep

Aldebaran, the runner-up in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, will run in a third-level allowance race on Saturday's card. Aldebaran drew the rail in a nine-horse field that includes stakes winners Windsor Castle and Smooth Jazz.

Following the Met Mile, Frankel had planned to ship Aldebaran to California for the Triple Bend Handicap. But, the day he was to ship was extremely hot, and Frankel did not want Aldebaran sitting on a van for several hours so he scrapped those plans. Frankel decided to point for the Grade 1 Forego on Sept. 1 here, but needed a prep.

"This is a good race for him,'' Frankel said. "He hasn't run in a while. Seven-eighths is a good distance for him.''

Frankel said Aldebaran's long-term prospects are on the turf, a surface on which he won a stakes last fall at Belmont.

Saturday's allowance race also features the return of Windsor Castle, the 2000 Remsen winner who hasn't been out since finishing fifth in the Westchester Handicap on May 8. Windsor Castle is winless since the 2000 Remsen, but was only beaten a neck in the Grade 3 Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap on April 6.

Also on Saturday's card, Yankee Gentleman makes his turf debut in an entry-level allowance in the nightcap.

Harty's Godolphin runners debut

Eoin Harty will be in Saratoga on Saturday and it's not just to watch his former pupil, Street Cry, run in the Whitney Handicap.

Harty, who trains exclusively 2-year-olds for Godolphin Racing, has taken four stalls at Saratoga. He will send out his first horse, Capote Edge, in a maiden race that goes as Saturday's third race.

"I like him, I think he's got some talent,'' said Harty, who last year trained Tempera to a 2-year-old filly championship. "I'm confident he'll run well on Saturday.''

On Monday, Harty plans to send out Danuta, a daughter of Sunday Silence. "She acts like she can run a bit,'' Harty said. "She's a little skittish, I guess that comes with the territory.''

Harty, who won with two of his three starters at this meet last year, said he hopes to send up four more horses to this meet, and also hopes to have stalls during the Belmont fall meet.

"I'm limited in my opportunities in California,'' Harty said. "I'm going to send some more stock up there. If I get some stalls, I'll stick around through the fall.''

Kimmel makes broadcasting debut

Trainer John Kimmel will provide the commentary for the YES Network's coverage of Saturday's Whitney. The YES Network is available on many cable systems in New York and on DIRECTV. The one-hour program will air from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. and also include coverage of the Amsterdam Stakes.

In other television related matters, NYRA announced Thursday that Fox Sports New York, in conjunction with TVG, will air 10 hours of coverage encompassing six shows from Saratoga on Aug. 10, 11, 17, 18 and Sept. 1.

- Belmont runner-up Medaglia d'Oro worked four furlongs in 48.52 seconds Thursday over Saratoga's main track. Though he was entered for Sunday's Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park, Medaglia d'Oro is expected to run in the $500,000 Jim Dandy here the same day.

- Also working for the Jim Dandy on Thursday was Iron Deputy, who went a half-mile in 49.33 seconds, the fastest of eight workouts on the Oklahoma training track.

- Zavata, the Tremont winner, worked five furlongs in 59.66 seconds, handily, Thursday. It was the fastest of 34 moves at the distance.

- additional reporting by David Grening