10/21/2002 11:00PM

BC Countdown - Juvenile: Prado hopes he made right choice


ELMONT, N.Y. - Edgar Prado wishes he could clone himself for the estimated 110 seconds it will take to run Saturday's Breeders' Cup Juvenile. But, since he can't, he had a decision to make. Sky Mesa or Whywhywhy? Whywhywhy or Sky Mesa?

In choosing to ride Sky Mesa, Prado said it came down to breeding. Prado simply believes Sky Mesa may be better equipped to get nine furlongs than Whywhywhy. Sky Mesa is a son of Pulpit, a Fountain of Youth and Blue Grass winner. Whywhywhy is a son of Mr. Greeley, known primarily as a sprinter.

"It definitely was a very difficult decision, they're two very nice horses and it's hard to separate one from the other," Prado said. "Whywhywhy is a very mature horse and he's got experience and it seems like nothing bothers him. Sky Mesa, so far he's done everything so easy, so professionally. I think we're just leaning to Sky Mesa a little more because I think he can go the distance more than Whywhywhy."

Sky Mesa and Whywhywhy figure to go off the top two choices in the Juvenile, which should attract a full field of 14. Sky Mesa is undefeated in three starts with victories in the Grade 1 Hopeful and Grade 2 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity, a two-turn race he won by four lengths. In that race, Prado had to get after Sky Mesa with his whip around the turn.

"You can see he's looking around. He didn't miss any single person in the grandstand," Prado said. "What I like is he came back and he was not blowing that much."

After losing his career debut, Whywhywhy has won three consecutive races, including the Grade 1 Futurity at Belmont, a one-turn mile race. In that race he overcame a driving rainstorm, thunder, and lightning, and galloped out strongly past the wire. Prado said it was easy, but noted it was a one-turn mile whereas the Juvenile is a two-turn, 1 1/8-mile race.

"Whywhywhy has done nothing wrong so far, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's right there at the end," Prado said.

Prado's decision to ride Sky Mesa opened the door for Pat Day, a two-time winner of the Juvenile, to pick up Whywhywhy. Tuesday at Arlington, Day guided Whywhywhy through an easy half-mile breeze in 52.80 seconds. After going a slow opening quarter in 28.40 seconds, Whywhywhy got his second quarter in 24.40 seconds and galloped out in 1:05.

"It was slow against the clock, but I was very impressed with his mind and his action," Day said. "He finished up strong. I was pleased I had the opportunity to get on him and familiarize myself with him. I think he's going to run a big race Saturday and I wouldn't be surprised if he gets all the candy."

Patrick Biancone, the trainer of Whywhywhy, said the purpose of Tuesday's workout was simply for Day to get to know Whywhywhy.

"It seemed like the horse liked him and the jockey liked the horse," Biancone said. "The horse is a talented baby and so far we're coming into this race the best we can."

Amoss in dual role

Trainer Tom Amoss is playing the dual role of Breeders' Cup trainer and television analyst this week. Amoss, who sends out Lone Star Sky in the Juvenile, has been analyzing workouts for the TVG's "The Works."

"From what I've seen, I know a little better who the contenders are and who the pretenders are and Whywhywhy is the horse to beat in my opinion," he said.

Meanwhile, Lone Star Sky worked a half-mile in 50 seconds Tuesday at Churchill Downs under regular rider Mark Guidry. According to Amoss, Lone Star Sky was timed in quarters of 25.60 seconds and 24.60 while wearing blinkers.

"I want him more focused in the early part of the race, which is what the blinkers are about," Amoss said. "I want him in some sort of tactical position without being used to do it. Then, it's all about the horse and how athletic he can be in the last part of the race."

- additional reporting by Mike Welsch