04/02/2004 12:00AM

Baffert might try Consecrate in Wood


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Consecrate, the runner-up in the WinStar Derby at Sunland Park on March 28, could make his next start in Saturday's $750,000 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct.

Bob Baffert, Consecrate's trainer, said he planned on breezing the gelding at Santa Anita on Monday or Tuesday and making a decision after that.

"I'm sort of keeping my options open; if he tell us he's ready, we'll run," Baffert said Friday from California. "Horses like that, with a lot of starts, bounce out of their races good."

Consecrate, a son of Silver Charm, with whom Baffert won the Kentucky Derby in 1997, was making his 10th start in the WinStar Derby. Racing without blinkers for the first time, Consecrate, the favorite, came with a wide move in the 10-horse field and fell a half-length short of catching the winner, Hi Teck Man.

"I thought it was a strong race and he got beat by a nice horse," said Baffert, who won the 2001 Wood Memorial with Congaree. "It was a tough little derby they had."

If Consecrate runs in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial, Jorge Chavez has the mount.

Baffert previously said he would run Congaree in the $250,000 Commonwealth Breeders' Cup at Keeneland next Saturday, rather than the $350,000 Carter - a race Congaree won last year - the same day at Aqueduct. On Friday, Baffert said he would look at the Carter weights, which were due out on Saturday, before making a final decision.

The Wood Memorial, New York's final prep for the Kentucky Derby, is expected to draw a large field, including Sinister G (Paul Toscano), Value Plus (John Velazquez), Tapit (Edgar Prado), Master David (Alex Solis), Eddington (Jerry Bailey), Little Matth Man (Pablo Fragoso), Swingforthefences (Shaun Bridgmohan), Bride's Best Boy, Cuba, and The Cliff's Edge. Hornshope is listed as possible.

A Lulu Ofa Menifee tries Comely

A Lulu Ofa Menifee, who earned a 99 Beyer Speed Figure in her last race, will make her first start for trainer Barclay Tagg and Lael Stable in Friday's $100,000 Comely Stakes.

Roy and Gretchen Jackson, who raced under the name Lael Stable, privately purchased A Lulu Ofa Menifee after the 3-year-old won an optional claimer by 8 1/2 lengths at the Fair Grounds on March 5. In her previous start, A Lulu Ofa Menifee won a maiden race by three lengths in her fifth start on Jan. 31. Ronny Werner previously trained the daughter of Menifee.

A Lulu Ofa Menifee arrived in Tagg's Palm Meadows barn on March 20 and shipped to New York on Wednesday. Robin Smullen, Tagg's assistant and A LuLu Ofa Menifee's exercise rider, said she likes what she has seen from the filly so far.

"She's a big, pretty filly and has just been a perfect lady," Smullen said. "I had heard she might be difficult to gallop, but so far she has been perfect."

Smullen said a second-level allowance race for 3-year-old fillies would have been preferable to the Comely.

"We were sort of looking for a more reasonable spot, but it's hard to find a race, let alone it fill, at that condition," Smullen said. "We'll try her in the Comely and see what happens."

In addition to A Lulu Ofa Menifee, the Grade 3 Comely at a mile is expected to attract Irish Melody, Daydreaming, Fond, Bending Strings, Please Take Me Out, and Rare Gift. Several others are listed as possible to start, including Society Selection and Among My Souvenirs.

Indian War Dance cuts back

Indian War Dance, coming off a poor performance in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, will cut back in distance in next Saturday's $150,000 Bay Shore Stakes.

Indian War Dance, breaking from post 8, led through six furlongs in 1:10.65 in the 1 1/16-mile Louisiana Derby and tired badly in the stretch. He finished 10th in the 11-horse field and was beaten 29 lengths.

Richard Dutrow Jr., Indian War Dance's trainer, said that he might remove the blinkers the colt has worn in six of seven starts in the seven-furlong Bay Shore.

"He might not need them," Dutrow said. "He came out of his last race good; I didn't see negative effects. I only hope that the first half-mile was just too quick."

Dutrow said Edgar Prado would ride.

Among the other 3-year-olds pointing to the Grade 3 Bay Shore are Abbondanza, Forest Danger, Judiths Wild Rush, Last Minute Detail, and Rockhewn. Several others could join the field.

Likely no Carter for Well Fancied

Even though the Grade 1 Carter lost Ghostzapper and possibly Congaree, Dutrow still isn't keen on running Well Fancied. Well Fancied has won five stakes from his last six starts and is ideally suited to the Carter's seven furlongs.

"Maybe if Midas Eyes and Strong Hope don't run, I would start thinking seriously about it," Dutrow said. "But I know those horses can beat me. I want to put him where he can win."

The $100,000 Westchester Handicap on May 5, opening day of the Belmont Park meet, is most likely Well Fancied's next race.

Trainer Bobby Frankel told the racing office Friday that Midas Eyes would not run in the Carter.

The expected starters for the Carter are Strong Hope, Badge of Silver, Don Six, Eye of the Tiger, and Secret Run. Congaree, Pico Central, and Unforgettable Max are possible.

* Aqueduct will be closed Sunday for Palm Sunday and again on Easter, April 11.