06/12/2002 12:00AM

Bowman's Band seeks first graded win in Brooklyn


ELMONT, N.Y. - Bowman's Band has been competitive in graded stakes, but so far a graded win has eluded him. His connections are hoping to take care of that in Saturday's $250,000 Brooklyn Handicap at Belmont Park.

The 1 1/8-mile Brooklyn, which has none of the top handicap stars, may be the perfect spot for the 4-year-old to pick up his first graded win. The colt has already shown an affinity for Belmont by winning his career debut here a year ago by 5 1/2 lengths.

Bowman's Band's trainer, Michael Matz, cross-entered the horse in Saturday's $100,000 Baltimore Breeders' Cup, a Grade 3 at Pimlico, but said owner Martin Schwartz is keen to run in the Grade 2 Brooklyn.

This year, Bowman's Band finished second in both the Grade 1 Oaklawn Handicap and the Grade 3 Schaefer Handicap at Pimlico. During the winter, he had a first and a second in a pair of optional claimers at Gulfstream Park.

Matz, who has horses at Delaware Park and the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland, took over Bowman's Band's training following the colt's 3-year-old season. Last year, while trained by John Kimmel, Bowman's Band had a solid campaign with three wins from four starts. He also finished fourth in the Grade 2 Pegasus.

"I sure would like to win a graded stakes with him," Matz said. "He has a real big heart, and I think there is a lot left in this horse. If he steps forward each time he runs, by the end of the year he'll be making some noise."

Matz said Edgar Prado, who has ridden Bowman's Band in each of his starts this year, had committed to ride Seeking Daylight in the Brooklyn before Matz decided to run. Richard Migliore, Bowman's Band's regular rider last year, has the assignment.

On Wednesday, trainer Todd Pletcher said Graeme Hall wouldn't run in the Brooklyn because he was unhappy with the way the horse came out of his last work. Instead, Pletcher will run Invisible Ink, who originally was intended for Saturday's $750,000 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs.

The other expected Brooklyn starters are E Dubai, Free of Love, Country Be Gold, Dayton Flyer, Griffinite, and Runspastum. Trainer Jim Bond said he would decide on Thursday whether to enter Pleasant Breeze.

, the likely favorite, worked five furlongs in 1:02.86 at Belmont on Wednesday. He will be ridden by Jose Santos.

Affirmed Success breezes

Affirmed Success, breezing for the first time since finishing fourth in the Metropolitan Mile, worked a sharp half-mile in 47.56 seconds on Belmont's main track on Wednesday. The clockers timed the 8-year-old Affirmed Success galloping out five furlongs in 1:00.46.

Trainer Richard Schosberg is considering his options for Affirmed Success, a graded stakes winner on dirt and turf. Schosberg said he will choose between the $150,000 Tom Fool, a seven-furlong dirt race on July 4, and the $100,000-added Poker, a mile turf race run the following day. Affirmed Success has won the last two runnings of the Poker.

"I'll wait until the [nominations] come out and see who's running," Schosberg said. "Seven-eighths is his best distance, but it would be kind of neat to win the Poker three years in a row."

Options for Too Scarlet

Too Scarlet, the winner of Saturday's WNBC Stakes, has been nominated to the $300,000 Ogden Phipps Handicap, a Grade 1, on June 22, and the $75,000-added Mount Vernon Handicap, a New York-bred grass race, the following day.

Too Scarlet's trainer, Kristina Dupps, said she would see how the filly trains and evaluate the fields for the stakes before deciding if she will run in either race.

Too Scarlet is a winner of seven of nine starts.

* Jockey John Velazquez returned Wednesday after being involved in two nasty spills last week. Velazquez, who wasn't seriously injured, took off his first three mounts on Wednesday, but rode four horses later on the card. Velazquez won the finale on Youghal Bay.