09/27/2007 12:00AM

Carry the Day seeks better result in Pilgrim

EmailELMONT, N.Y. - One would have assumed that with the defection of Big Brown there would have been more interest in Saturday's $75,000 Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont Park. But some horsemen had already made plans to run in other races, leaving the 1 1/16-mile turf race with a field of six, three of whom were cross-entered in Friday's World Appeal Stakes at the Meadowlands.

Trainer Gary Contessa said Thursday he will likely scratch Carry the Day from the World Appeal to run in the Pilgrim, which serves as a prep for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Monmouth Park on Oct. 26.

Carry the Day, a 2-year-old son of With Approval and Fortunate Find, won a six-furlong maiden race at Belmont in July before finishing fifth in the off-the-turf Continental Mile at Monmouth Park. He came back 13 days after that race to finish fourth in the With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga. Zee Zee, the runner-up from the With Anticipation, came back to win last Saturday's Happy Ticket Stakes at Louisiana Downs.

"He was running late up the rail," Contessa said. "He's a very game horse. He fell way out of it early. I was pleased with his race."

Rebounded and Pulla Fast One finished eighth and ninth in the With Anticipation, and both are cross-entered in the World Appeal and Pilgrim. Rebounded, a good-looking debut winner at Saratoga, stumbled at the start of the With Anticipation and flattened out after making a bold middle move.

The horse to beat in the Pilgrim may be Grasberg, a New York-bred son of Thunder Gulch who overcame a sluggish start to win his debut at Saratoga going 1 1/16 miles. He made a sustained bid from the middle of the backstretch to the wire in running down Gentleman Scholar.

"He's just a big lumbering-type of horse; I wasn't surprised that he lumbered on out of the gate," trainer Mike Hushion said. "He does seem a little sharper now. I liked the race a lot. Anytime a horse can win going long first time it's significant."

Grasberg is out of the dam India Divina, a Grade 1 winner on dirt who threw Everydayissaturday, a one-time winner on turf.

Trainer Todd Pletcher will try The Leopard on the turf for the first time after three dirt starts, including a dull fifth-place finish in the Futurity just two weeks ago. Pletcher said he was pleased enough with The Leopard's half-mile breeze over the turf in 50.52 seconds on Sunday to give the grass a try.

He Ain't Easy, a son of Louis Quatorze, tries the turf for the first time. He is trained by David Donk.

Mission Approved to Turf Classic

Mission Approved, a full brother to Carry the Day, will jump up to the major leagues Sunday when he runs in the Grade 1, $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational against English Channel.

It will be Mission Approved's third race in four weeks after winning the Grade 3 Saranac at Saratoga and the Princeton Stakes at the Meadowlands.

"He's kicking the walls down," Contessa said. "How many mile and a half, six-horse fields for $600,000 are there going to be out there? There's one horse to beat."

Contessa said Mission Approved will try to play catch me if you can in the Turf Classic.

"Any time you have speed, it's dangerous," Contessa said.

English Channel, who won last year's Turf Classic, will be a heavy favorite to defend his title. In addition to Mission Approved, English Channel's opponents are expected to be Interpatation, Mustanfar, and Shamdinan.

Mailbu Moonshine set for Gold Cup

In the Joe Hirsch, Contessa will attempt to slay one dragon. In the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup, he'll attempt to slay two when he sends out Malibu Moonshine against Whitney and Woodward winner Lawyer Ron and Preakness winner Curlin.

Contessa had hoped to run Malibu Moonshine in an overnight stakes here at 1 1/2 miles on Saturday, but the race did not fill.

"Malibu Moonshine is a horse that for his whole life has been a hair below the best horses," Contessa said. "He ran third in the Suburban. For me, he's never run a bad race. Heck, he deserves a shot. He's training great."

Malibu Moonshine a son of Malibu Moon, won the Pleasant Colony at 1o3/4 miles at Aqueduct and was second in the Wagon Limit at 1 1/2 miles here in May.

Malibu Moonshine's presence brings the Jockey Club Gold Cup field to seven. Also expected to run are Suburban winner Political Force, Brother Bobby, and Sun King.

Papi Chullo turned out

Contessa said Papi Chullo was turned out after bleeding in the Philip Iselin Breeders' Cup at Monmouth on Aug. 18.

Contessa said Papi Chullo will likely return to training in mid-October and be pointed to the handicap stakes at Aqueduct in the winter.

Papi Chullo appeared to be a horse on the rise in the handicap division when he earned triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures winning an allowance race and the Birdstone Stakes over Belmont's main track in the spring. He bled in the Iselin after finishing ninth in the Whitney at Saratoga.

Frankel enters weekend on a roll

Trainer Bobby Frankel hopes the hot streak he's on continues through the weekend when he sends out contenders in three graded stakes.

Frankel won three consecutive races on Thursday's card and has won with 5 of the last 6 horses he has saddled at the meet. His one loss in that span, by Fast Thought, came by a neck.

On Thursday, Frankel won the third with Temecula Creek ($4.80), the fourth with Gigli ($4.90), and the fifth with Mogul Man ($10.60). He now has a record of 7-7-1 from 23 starters here this fall.

Rafael Bejarano was aboard for all three winners Thursday. Bejarano then won the sixth race with In Command for Richard Dutrow Jr.

Frankel, who had two runners Friday, was scheduled on Saturday to send out Art Master in the Grade 2 Kelso Breeders' Cup Handicap, Argentina in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl, and Symphony of Psalms in the $75,000 Dynamic Lisa for New York-bred fillies and mares on turf.

On Sunday, Frankel will send out favored Ginger Punch in the Grade 1 Beldame.

* Ice Cool Kitty ($3.60) tuned up for a likely start in next month's $125,000 Iroquois Stakes by registering a 3 1/4-length victory over Stolen Star in Thursday's $77,000 Floral Park Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares. It was the sixth win from eight starts for Ice Cool Kitty, who ran seven furlongs in 1:22.67 under Mike Luzzi.