09/26/2007 12:00AM

Brother Bobby taking his shot

EmailELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Grant Forster hopes the connections of Curlin and Lawyer Ron are more focused on next month's $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic than on Sunday's $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park.

Forster will saddle longshot Brother Bobby against those two Grade 1 winners in the Gold Cup, hoping his horse runs the race of his life while those two are merely prepping for the big dance at Monmouth Park on Oct. 27.

"We're hoping the others are a race away, where we're trying to peak on Sunday," Forster said Wednesday. "At this point, this is our Breeders' Cup."

Brother Bobby, a 4-year-old son of Out of Place, will be facing Lawyer Ron for the second time this year. In April, he finished second, four lengths behind that rival, in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap as a 39-1 longshot.

"Turning for home, we made a run at Lawyer Ron," Forster said. "He sprinted away from us. We were boxed in and Lawyer Ron had an outside trip."

Following the Oaklawn Handicap, Brother Bobby ran two subpar races at Churchill Downs, which prompted Forster to give him some time off. Brother Bobby returned in the Grade 3 Philip Iselin Breeders' Cup at Monmouth, where he finished second to Gottcha Gold, who beat Lawyer Ron in the Salvator Mile.

Since the Iselin, Brother Bobby has trained extremely well both at Monmouth Park and at Belmont. Forster shipped Brother Bobby to Belmont on Sept. 19, and on Sunday he worked a blazing five furlongs in 57.59 seconds over the main track. It was the fastest of 35 works at the distance, and the next-fastest drill was three seconds slower.

"He was moving right along," Forster said. "He's a big strong horse. He seems to be loving the size of the track, handling it great. We've been wanting to run him at a mile and a quarter here at Belmont with the big turns. He's coming up to the race great. We feel he's going to run the race of his life. He's going to have to, given the competition."

Forster said that a good performance by Brother Bobby in the Jockey Club Gold Cup could earn the gelding a start in the Breeders' Cup Classic, but he's thinking more long-term than that.

"This was an opportunity to take a shot and see where you stand heading into his 5-year-old season," Forster said. "If he takes us there, he takes us there. He's always run well at Monmouth. That's a good point in our favor."

Fabulous Strike looking ready

If Fabulous Strike is actually doing as well as his trainer Todd Beattie believes, he should have an impact in Sunday's Grade 1, $400,000 Vosburgh Stakes at six furlongs.

Fabulous Strike earned out-of-this-world speed figures winning his first two starts of the year - the Panhandle at Mountaineer and the Grade 3 Aristides at Churchill - before finishing a distant fifth as the second choice in the Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder on July 7.

Beattie said Fabulous Strike came out of that race with a case of the thumps, an electrolyte imbalance, and the trainer gave him plenty of time to recover. After electing to skip a prep race at Presque Isle Downs earlier this month, Beattie opted for the Vosburgh even though it may be coming up the toughest of Sunday's four Grade 1 stakes.

Fabulous Strike has worked three times at Presque Isle, including a bullet five-furlong move in 59 seconds on Sunday.

"I think I'm very prepared," Beattie said this week on a national conference call. "We've had very solid works. We're exactly where we want to be. My horse trained outstanding the day after he worked at Presque Isle, and I have him back here at my own barn at Penn National. I wouldn't change anything at this point."

Another reason Beattie picked the Vosburgh was because Fabulous Strike has had success at Belmont Park, winning 2 of 3 starts.

The Vosburgh will see the return of Discreet Cat to the races. Also expected to run are First Defence, Mach Ride, Park Avenue Ball, Talent Search, Teuflesberg, and Will He Shine.

Pool Land returns a winner

Pool Land, away from the races since last fall's Breeders' Cup Distaff, made a triumphant return Wednesday, taking the $78,000 Beautiful Pleasure Stakes by a half-length over Altesse.

Under John Velazquez, Pool Land made the lead quite easily in a scratched-reduced field of four, cutting out fractions of 23.89 seconds, 46.98, and 1:11.48. Altesse made two runs at her in upper stretch, but Pool Land responded. Pool Land, winner of last year's Grade 1 Ruffian, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.62.

Velazquez, who rode Pool Land to her Ruffian victory last year, was pleased with the filly's first race in almost 11 months.

"She was really good," he said. "She's been off a long time. She was a little bit sharp in the first part of the race, but when she got to the half-mile pole she kind of came off the bridle. Down the lane, I waited till the sixteenth pole to give her one smack, and she was right on it."

Pool Land was making her first start for trainer Tom Albertrani, who thought the Beautiful Pleasure was the ideal spot to get started.

"I was very pleased with the way she ran, knowing she should improve off the race too," he said. "It was a good starting point to bring her back. It worked out well this way. She was able to get on a pretty comfortable lead, and everything worked out well."

Albertrani said he would talk with owner Eugene Melnyk before deciding where Pool Land runs next.

* Who What Win, under Rafael Bejarano, got off the rail in midstretch and outfinished French Transition to win Wednesday's $76,500 Sherpa Guide Stakes for New York-breds by a half-length. Who What Win, trained by John Terranova for the Gatsas Stable, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.20 and returned $5.50 as the favorite.

That race should set Who What Win up for a try in the $250,000 Empire Classic here on Oct. 20.