04/01/2005 12:00AM

Badge of Silver to ship in for Carter

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - When trainer Bobby Frankel had to scrap his plan of running Ghostzapper in the Oaklawn Park Handicap, he thought he'd be able to go to his bench and run Badge of Silver instead. Unfortunately, Badge of Silver wasn't nominated, and horses may not be supplemented to that race.

Oaklawn Park's loss became Aqueduct's gain when Frankel said Friday that Badge of Silver would ship here to run in Saturday's Grade 1 Carter Handicap. His presence will spice up an already solid field that is expected to include Don Six, Forest Danger, Grand Reward, Medallist, Silver Wagon, and Unforgettable Max.

Badge of Silver is 2 for 2 this year with wins in the Hal's Hope Handicap at Gulfstream Park and the New Orleans Handicap at Fair Grounds. Both races were run at nine furlongs around two turns. The Carter is run at seven furlongs around one turn.

"He ran good at Aqueduct," Frankel said, referring to Badge of Silver's second-place finish in last November's Cigar Mile. "He's got speed, but he can come from off the pace a little bit."

Badge of Silver, who was based at Palm Meadows all winter but is now at Churchill Downs, must be tested for the disease strangles before being allowed to ship here. Badge of Silver was to have been tested on Saturday. Provided he tests negative, Badge of Silver will be flown here on Thursday.

Frankel said Jerry Bailey would ride Badge of Silver, who was entered in last year's Carter but was forced to scratch due to a keratoma in his foot.

Bailey to ride Pavo in Wood

When owner Ernie Paragallo learned that Bailey would be in town next Saturday, he wasted little time scooping him up to ride Pavo in the Wood Memorial.

Bailey replaces Alan Garcia, who rode Pavo to a second-place finish in the Gotham despite losing his irons halfway through the race. Pavo was disqualified to fourth after Garcia's whip struck Naughty New Yorker in the face at the wire.

Garcia also lost the mount on Scrappy T, as trainer Robert Bailes has decided to go with Rafael Bejarano in the Wood.

"It was a tough business decision," Bailes said. "It's nothing that Alan did wrong. We wanted to make a change and see if it helps him."

Though Bob Rosenthal, the owner of Galloping Grocer, said he has not made a final decision on whether his gelding will run here or in Illinois, the remainder of the Wood field is pretty much set. With riders, the field is likely to include: Bellamy Road (Javier Castellano), Going Wild (Victor Espinoza), Naughty New Yorker (Jean-Luc Samyn), Pavo (Bailey), Scrappy T (Bejarano), and Survivalist (Richard Migliore).

Canteen, disqualified from a maiden win at Santa Anita, is possible.

Stellianos tries main track

Stellianos, who went 4 for 6 over the inner track, will try to transfer that success to the main track when he faces four rivals in a $48,000 optional claiming race at 1 1/8 miles on Sunday. He is the only member of the field to be entered for the $75,000 claiming tag. The race also is open to those eligible for third-level allowance conditions.

Stellianos has won six of his last eight starts since returning from a layoff for trainer Mitch Friedman. Stellianos relies on a strong, contested pace, and should get it with the likes of Make My Day Jur and Bahama John in the field. Stellianos may have to deal with a wet track on Sunday. He is 0-4-3 from eight starts on such a surface.

Diligent Gambler, who was entered in Saturday's Excelsior, figures to stalk the pace under Jean-Luc Samyn if he runs here. Diligent Gambler has won 5 of 9 starts since being claimed by Leah Gyarmati and is 3 for 5 over Aqueduct's main track. He is also 3 for 4 over wet surfaces.

Turf racing delayed

Racing secretary Mike Lakow hoped to begin turf racing next Friday. The turf course is not yet ready, however, and Lakow has announced that turf races in the condition book for Friday and Saturday will be run on the dirt.

Lakow said he hopes to begin turf racing the week of April 13.

Last fall, the turf course was plagued by root problems, which allowed for only 23 races to be run on the grass.

"There's still a minor root problem," track superintendent John Passero said. "We want to get into the good weather. Give us some time to get some 50- and 60-degree days. By now the roots should be humming - they're not humming. We want to get it dried out and get those roots going."

Passero has put a tarpaulin on the turf from just beyond the three-furlong pole to the quarter pole. He said that part of the course has new sod, and the purpose of the tarps is to keep the ground warm, which stimulates growth.

* Passero said Belmont's main track will open for training on Monday.