12/17/2003 1:00AM

Cajun Beat to skip Malibu, run at Gulf

Shipping problems have rerouted BC Sprint winner Cajun Beat from Santa Anita's Malibu Stakes to the Mr. Prospector at Gulfstream Jan. 3.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Cajun Beat, the upset winner of the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita in October, will make his next start in the $100,000 Mr. Prospector Handicap at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 3, trainer Stephen Margolis said on Wednesday.

A leading candidate for the Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding sprinter, Cajun Beat had been considered a candidate for the $250,000 Malibu Stakes for 3-year-olds over seven furlongs at Santa Anita on Dec. 26.

Margolis said the decision to pass the Malibu was made after he could not find satisfactory shipping arrangements from south Florida to California. There is no direct horse shuttle offered next week, and a trip via cargo plane would have required a six-hour layover in Dallas, he said. Cajun Beat is based at Palm Meadows training center in Boynton Beach, Fla., north of Gulfstream.

"There was no easy way to get him out there," Margolis said. "It would be a hard ship on a cargo flight. We didn't think it was the best interest of the horse."

Owned by Satish Sanan and Joe and John Iracane, Cajun Beat has won 5 of 11 starts and $823,300. He scored a 22-1 upset in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, rallying from a stalking position to score by 2 1/4 lengths over Bluesthestandard.

Cajun Beat would have been a top contender in the Grade 1 Malibu. The candidates include Baltic Heights, Blazonry, Buddy Gil, Domestic Dispute, Marino Marini, Midas Eyes, Posse, Special Rate, Toccet, Watchem Smokey, and Zavata.

The top contenders are Buddy Gil, the winner of the Santa Anita Derby last April; Midas Eyes, who was second in the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct last month; and Posse, the winner of the Thanksgiving Handicap at Fair Grounds last month. Posse was fourth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, while Zavata was 12th.

Nominations closed on Thursday.

In the six-furlong Mr. Prospector Handicap, Cajun Beat is likely to be a standout in a short field that is expected to include Eugene's Third Son, the runner-up in the Arkansas Derby, who won two allowance races at Churchill Downs during the fall meeting. Nominations close Monday.

Margolis said Cajun Beat will have two starts at Gulfstream Park - the Mr. Prospector and the $100,000 Deputy Minister Handicap over 6 1/2 furlongs on Feb. 7. The long-range goal is the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen in the Middle East on March 27.