09/07/2004 12:00AM

Better Talk Now eyes Grade 1 double

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Better Talk Now, who runs in Saturday's Man o' War, gave Graham Motion his first graded win of the meet.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Graham Motion, coming off a solid Saratoga meet with two graded stakes wins, will try to keep the ball rolling on Saturday at Belmont Park in the Grade 1, $500,000 Man o' War.

Motion will run Better Talk Now in the Man o' War at 1 3/8 miles on the turf. In his last start, Better Talk Now became a Grade 1 winner in the Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga on Aug. 14.

The Sword Dancer was Better Talk Now's first win since the Grade 2 Knickerbocker Handicap at Aqueduct in November. In his start before the Sword Dancer, the 5-year-old Better Talk Now finished second in the Grade 2 Bowling Green at Belmont.

"Coming into the spring, I thought we had a legitimate horse," Motion said. "It's a shame it took him that long to get back. I was kind of surprised how long it took him to get to this point this year."

Expected to join Better Talk Now in the Man o' War are Ballingarry, Epalo, Greek Sun, Request for Parole, and possibly Balto Star. Request for Parole worked five furlongs in 1:00.51 on Belmont's main track on Tuesday.

Motion won the first division of Sunday's Grade 3 Glens Falls at Saratoga with Humaita and was third with Film Maker in the second division. Motion said both fillies will likely be pointed to the Grade 1 Flower Bowl at Belmont on Oct. 2.

Here come the Euros

A bevy of European horses will descend on Belmont to run in stakes during opening weekend.

Epalo, a German-based 5-year-old who ran in the Arlington Million on Aug. 14, worked at Belmont on Monday for the Man o' War. Epalo covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:56.45 over a fast main track. Epalo, trained by Andreas Schutz, remained in this country following his tough trip in the Arlington Million, where he was caught in a jam in the stretch and was moved up from fourth place to third.

Several European-based 3-year-old fillies are scheduled to run in Sunday's Grade 1, $300,000 Garden City Breeders' Cup.

Last weekend, Noahs Ark arrived from Ireland to run in the Garden City, a 1 1/8-mile turf race. A stakes-placed filly trained by Dermot Weld, Noahs Ark defeated males in her last start, the Irish Stallion Farms Handicap at Leopardstown.

Also scheduled to run in the Garden City are Barancella and Red Feather, who were due to arrive on a flight from Europe on Tuesday evening. After being quarantined at Aqueduct, Barancella and Red Feather will be moved to Belmont later in the week. Red Feather won a Group 3 in Ireland in her last start on July 17. Barancella was fifth in the Group 3 Prix Minerve at Deauville on Aug. 24.

Love of Money's plans indefinite

The day after winning Monday's $750,000 Pennsylvania Derby with Love of Money, trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. was in no hurry to map out plans for the 3-year-old.

Making his stakes debut in the Pennsylvania Derby, Love of Money won the race by 8 1/2 lengths after bearing out around the far turn.

When asked if he thought Love of Money had room to improve off the impressive win, Dutrow said: "It sure looks that way. He blew the turn and switched leads late because of lack of interest."

The next major races in Love of Money's division are the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs on Sept. 25 and the Grade 2, $500,000 Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park on Oct. 2.

"I guess at this moment anything is possible," Dutrow said. "The Super Derby might be too soon for us, but maybe not for him. Soon enough, I'll start looking."

Dutrow is hoping for another big win on Saturday at Belmont when he runs Saint Liam in the Grade 1, $500,000 Woodward. Dutrow said he would be leery about running Saint Liam over a wet track. Rain from the remnants of Hurricane Frances is in the forecast for the next several days.

Saint Liam hasn't run since finishing third in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap on April 3.

Monday at Belmont, Midway Road, the likely second choice behind Ghostzapper in the 1 1/8-mile Woodward, worked a half-mile in 47.48 seconds.

Midway Road's trainer, Neil Howard, said he was pleased with the move.

"I was very satisfied," Howard said. "The work was beautiful. He finished strong."

Newfoundland is also expected to run in the Woodward. Bowman's Band and Colita are possible. Seattle Fitz worked Tuesday at Saratoga, but his trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin, said the horse would run only if Ghostzapper did not. McLaughlin also nominated Eye of the Tiger to the Woodward, but said the colt would not run.

Bending Strings preps for Gazelle

McLaughlin will be represented by Bending Strings in Saturday's Grade 1, $250,000 Gazelle. Tuesday, Bending Strings worked a half-mile in 50.48 at Saratoga.

In her last start, Bending Strings finished a well-beaten second to Society Selection in the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga on July 31.

"I thought Bending Strings ran great in the Test," McLaughlin said. "Anytime you can be second in a Grade 1 with a filly is super. We've been pointing her to the Gazelle since that race."

Shadow Cast worked for the Gazelle on Tuesday at Belmont and covered a half-mile in 49.48. Daydreaming, another expected starter, worked three furlongs in 36.61. Friendly Michelle, who is listed a possible for the Gazelle, worked five furlongs in 1:01.47 at Saratoga.