09/17/2001 11:00PM

California shippers are up in the air


ELMONT, N.Y. - Although flights to ship horses in and out of New York were scheduled to resume on Tuesday, trainers in California on Monday still seemed leery of sending horses across the country, which could seriously impact Saturday's Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont Park.

Ceeband, Performing Magic, and Tribal Rule were being considered for Saturday's Grade 1 Vosburgh but will not run. I Love Silver, another California-based horse, was scheduled to run in the Vosburgh as of Monday.

A Tex Sutton plane was scheduled to leave Kentucky on Tuesday morning to bring horses to New York. It was to arrive at MacArthur Airport in Islip rather than at John F. Kennedy Airport. The plane is then scheduled to take horses to Kentucky and California before making a return trip on Wednesday. Among the horses that were due to leave New York for California on Tuesday are defending Horse of the Year Tiznow, Printemps, and Starrer.

John Shirreffs, trainer of Performing Magic, said he was more concerned about likely favorite Squirtle Squirt than he was about traveling, which is why he has picked out Saturday's Kentucky Cup Classic for his horse. Still, others expressed concerns about shipping cross-country.

John Sadler, trainer of Ceeband said the "uncertainty of flights'' and the presence of Squirtle Squirt made him look for a different spot. Ceeband is now likely to run in the California Sprint Championship at Bay Meadows on Oct. 6.

Julio Canani cited travel concerns when informing New York Racing Association officials that he would not be sending Tribal Rule to the Vosburgh.

With those horses out, the Vosburgh field has been reduced considerably. Squirtle Squirt, the King's Bishop winner, heads a field that also includes Alannan, I Love Silver, Left Bank, Peeping Tom, and Say Florida Sandy.

On Monday, Squirtle Squirt drilled five furlongs in 59.47 seconds over Belmont's main track. Trainer Bobby Frankel was quite candid when asked about what he expected from Squirtle Squirt on Saturday. "I expect him to win,'' he said.

Chavez hires new agent

Jockey Jorge Chavez, who won the Kentucky Derby earlier this year aboard Monarchos, has fired Richie DePass and hired Ron Ebanks to be his new agent. DePass worked for Chavez for 3 1/2 years. During that time, Chavez won an Eclipse Award and two Breeders' Cup races.

Chavez cited "miscommunication'' between himself and DePass as his reason for making the change. DePass said he had no regrets and wished the rider well.

Ebanks, who had been the longtime agent for Shane Sellers before Sellers got hurt last December, had been booking mounts for Mark Guidry.

Reynolds gets a scare

Trainer Pat Reynolds, who is preparing his Grade 1 winner Peeping Tom for Saturday's $300,000 Vosburgh, experienced more than a few anxious moments last Tuesday when the two hijacked jetliners hit the World Trade Center's twin towers.

Reynolds's wife of 23 years, Laura, worked on the 17th floor of Tower 1 of the World Trade Center for Blue Cross-Blue Shield, an insurance company. Fortunately, she arrived later than usual to work that day and wasn't in the building for the terrorist attack.

Reynolds said he endured a "tough 50 minutes" before discovering his wife was unharmed. "At 9:50, Laura's mother called me to let me know she was all right," said Reynolds, who is 50. "Until I heard from her, I was understandably shaken up. I had a taste of near-tragedy."

Reynolds said that as far as he knows, all of his wife's co-workers escaped without serious injuries.

City Zip passes on work

City Zip, who is scheduled to run in Saturday's $150,000 Kentucky Cup Sprint at Turfway Park, did not work Monday at Belmont Park as expected.

Trainer Linda Rice, who was in Kentucky at the Keeneland sale, said she still expects to run City Zip in the Grade 2 Kentucky Cup Sprint, in which City Zip would be the likely favorite.

"There's no firm decision on when he'll work," said Rice, who didn't elaborate on why the work was scrapped, but said the horse was fine.

Rice said City Zip, who won the Bergen County at The Meadowlands in his last start on Sept. 3, is scheduled to fly to Kentucky on Thursday. Seven days after winning the Bergen County, City Zip worked five furlongs in 1:01.37, breezing, at Belmont.

*Mike Luzzi, out of action since breaking the tibia bone in his left leg in July, got on horses Sunday morning and is expected to resume race-riding on Sept. 26, his agent, Roger Sutton, said.

-additional reporting by Karen M. Johnson