03/28/2003 12:00AM

Aventura could be next for Supah Blitz


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - The second renewal of the $250,000 Aventura Stakes at Gulfstream may not have Kentucky Derby ramifications. But it could prove a stepping-stone to bigger and better things later in the year for several promising 3-year-olds.

The Aventura is one of two stakes races here next Saturday, along with the $100,000 Artax Handicap.

A field of nine or 10 3-year-olds is shaping up for the 1 1/16-mile Aventura. The most accomplished members of the group are Supah Blitz and Valid Video. Other prospective starters include Christine's Outlaw, Dynever, Massive, Nacheezmo, Private City, Runnin' on Nitro, and Unbridels King.

Supah Blitz finished second to Trust N Luck in the Grade 1 Fountain of Youth Stakes and most recently was a well-beaten fourth behind Empire Maker in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.

Trainer Manny Tortora said Supah Blitz came out of the Florida Derby with a little infection, but that his colt is doing well.

"I'm thinking about the Aventura," Tortora said Friday. "I'll work him one more time and then make a decision."

Supah Blitz is currently ranked 14th on the all-important graded money earnings list that could determine eligibility should the Kentucky Derby, which has a limit of 20 starters, overfill. The Aventura is not graded.

"He'll have to run a big race in the Aventura for us to consider running in the Derby, but it's still a possibility," Tortora said. "Right now it would appear he's got enough graded money to get into the Derby, so running in the ungraded Aventura shouldn't hurt us if that's the direction we decide to head in."

Rosemary Homeister Jr. will ride Supah Blitz if he starts in the Aventura.

Valid Video has already won a pair of sprint stakes races this winter, the Sunshine Millions Dash and the Ocala Breeders' Sprint, but will be asked to carry his abundant speed around two turns for the first time in the Aventura. A son of Valid Wager trained by Dennis Manning, Valid Video has won all four of his starts up to seven furlongs with his only loss in five starts coming in the

Grade 1, one-mile Futurity at Belmont Park.

The Aventura will provide a chance for a rematch between Nacheezmo and Dynever. Nacheezmo won the first meeting, but Dynever, who finished a fast-closing second after breaking slowly in that race, returned to turn in easily the most impressive two-turn maiden victory of the meet, rallying to an 8 1/4-length victory March 8.

Trainer H. James Bond said he had hoped to run Nacheezmo in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby off his maiden win but had to scrap those plans after his horse developed mucus in his lungs during the days before the race.

"Right now I'm looking at the Aventura," Bond said. "I'll see how he works next Tuesday and then go from there. I know it's a big step going from a maiden win right into a stakes, but it looks like many of the others in this field are pretty much in the same boat."

That would include Dynever, whom trainer Christophe Clement has pointed for the Aventura since his eye-catching maiden victory earlier this month.

"He's doing very well, and will work again on Saturday," Clement said. Edgar Prado will ride.

Artax, Banshee Breeze nominees

Tour of the Cat and Burning Roma, who finished first and second in the Grade 2 Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Handicap March 8, top a group of 17 older horses nominated for the seven-furlong Artax. Three of the 17 horses are trained by Mark Shuman, who said he plans to run Highway Prospector and either Boston Brat or Native Heir.

Friday's main event will be the $75,000 Banshee Breeze Handicap for older fillies and mares. The race lured 20 nominees, including two of top fillies and mares in the country, Summer Colony and Take Charge Lady.

Trainer Bill Cesare nominated the versatile Cellars Shiraz to the race, although he said he will use the Banshee Breeze as a back-up plan with his main objective the Grade 3 Jenny Wiley on turf at Keeneland the following weekend.

Teletimer KO'd

Torrential downpours that began during Thursday's final race and continued into the early evening forced track management to close the track for training Friday morning.

The track was listed as good for Friday's card but yielded fast times all day. Those times were clocked manually since the teletimer system was knocked out of action after being struck by lightning during the storm.