03/09/2006 12:00AM

Another option for Sharp Humor

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Add Sharp Humor's name to the list of possible starters for the $1 million Florida Derby on April 1.

Trainer Dale Romans said the Florida Derby is one of three races he and owners Ed Edelberg and Chris Purdy are considering next for Sharp Humor, the New York-bred who upset the Grade 2 Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park last weekend.

"We want to stretch him out around two turns for his next start but we still can't decide where or when," Romans said Thursday. "The original choices were either the Illinois Derby or Blue Grass, but now you can even throw the Florida Derby into the mix."

Romans said a final decision probably won't be made for at least another week.

"I want to wait and train him this week and see how much training I think he'll take to go two turns," said Romans, "and also to take a look who is going where. The Illinois Derby and Florida Derby would give us an opportunity to run him twice more before the Kentucky Derby if we think he needs it. Then we could bring him back in the Lexington. If we go right to the Blue Grass we would kind of be putting all our eggs in one basket."

Romans said he is confident Sharp Humor, a son of Distorted Humor, will handle two turns. The longest he has raced thus far was the one mile he negotiated winning Belmont's Sleepy Hollow in his last start at 2.

No final time for turf race

Handicappers and figure makers may have trouble deciding what to do with the horses coming out of Wednesday's sixth race, a 1 1/16-mile race on the turf which was not credited with an official time by the track timer or Equibase. Famous Frolic outfinished Full In to win the race for 3-year-olds competing under claiming tags of $40,000 to $35,000.

State steward Kevin Scheen explained the problem.

"The way the timing system is set up on the turf course, sensor beams have to be used according to where the temporary rail is on the course to extrapolate different distances according to how far the rail is from hedge," said Scheen. "The starting gate is limited to only four or five gaps around the course, and apparently there was trouble where the gate was set up in relationship to the timer for the one mile and one-sixteenth race with the rails set out at 60 feet, as they were on Wednesday."

Scheen said he discussed the situation with the track timer and representatives from Equibase immediately after the race.

"We learned about the problem after the fact," said Scheen. "Unfortunately, there wasn't a better system of communication set up between the turf manager, the starter, and the timer for turf races. Hopefully, this situation will be facilitated from now on and we won't wind up in a similar situation again. It is possible this race wasn't run at the exact distance of a mile and one- sixteenth - I can't say for sure - but if there was a mistake it was not a significant difference."

Scheen said the ninth race on the card, also run at 1 1/16 miles, went off without a hitch and was timed correctly.

Wolfson trio to Keeneland stakes

Trainer Marty Wolfson is hoping to use Saturday's Canadian Turf Handicap as a stepping-stone for Miesque's Approval to run in the Grade 2 Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland on April 14. If the plan works, Wolfson will be heading to Kentucky that week with a strong hand that is also expected to include stakes winners Mr. Fotis and Can't Beat It.

Mr. Fotis, fresh off a victory in the Grade 2 Richter Scale Handicap, could make his next start in the seven-furlong Grade 2 Common-wealth Breeders' Cup Stakes at Keeneland on April 15, while Can't Beat It will return to the turf to compete in the 1 1/8-mile Forerunner on April 20.

"I thought about trying Mr. Fotis in the Carter, but right now I'm leaning toward taking him to Keeneland with the others," said Wolfson.

Can't Beat It, no factor in the Fountain of Youth Stakes, won the grassy Hallandale Beach Stakes in his previous start.

* Jockey Javier Castellano has received a stay of the three-day suspension handed down by the track stewards for careless riding aboard Corinthian, who was disqualified from first and placed third in the Fountain of Youth.