03/31/2003 12:00AM

Carson Hollow's next stop still undecided

Email

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Two days after winning Saturday's Grade 2 Distaff Breeders' Cup Handicap at Aqueduct with Carson Hollow, trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said his long-term goal for the 4-year-old filly is the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita Park on Oct. 25.

More immediately, Dutrow is eyeing the $200,000 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs on the Kentucky Derby undercard on May 3 or the $150,000 Genuine Risk Handicap at Belmont Park on May 11 for her next start. The Grade 1 Humana Distaff is a seven-furlong race, and the Genuine Risk goes at six furlongs.

"I won't make a decision until I breeze her in a couple of weeks," Dutrow said Monday. "I'm very happy with her after that race. She is really very kind to ride and will come right back to the rider when she's on the lead. She was able to dictate the pace and ran really game in the stretch."

Carson Hollow was making her second start of the year in the seven-furlong Distaff. She beat Raging Fever, last year's winner, by 1 1/4 lengths in a front-running victory that earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 102. In Carson Hollow's previous start, she finished second to multiple stakes winner Xtra Heat in the Barbara Fritchie at Laurel Park.

It could be a big week for the connections of Carson Hollow, who is the favorite among the nominees for champion New York-bred 3-year-old filly and sprinter of 2002. The New York award winners were to be revealed at a dinner on Tuesday evening in Albany, N.Y.

Carson Hollow, owned by Frank Stronach and Hemlock Hills Farm, has a good shot at the horse of the year title because she is the only New York-bred to have won a Grade 1 race last year. Dutrow, scheduled to attend the award's dinner with several of Carson Hollow's owners, is among the nominees for top trainer of the year.

A winner of 5 of 7 starts in 2002, Carson Hollow became a Grade 1 winner in the Prioress at Belmont in July and was narrowly defeated by You after a thrilling stretch duel in the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga. Carson Hollow ended the season on a sour note by finishing last in the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Arlington Park. Dutrow said she came out of the race with a respiratory infection.

Fund of Funds headed to Hawthorne

Fund of Funds, second in an allowance race here on March 16, will make his stakes debut in Saturday's $500,000 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne.

Richard Violette Jr., Fund of Funds's trainer, said the 1 1/8-mile Illinois Derby is not coming up too tough, so it's worth taking a shot.

"It's a good spot for a lot of money," Violette said. Outside of Alysweep, the Gotham winner, he said, "It's a wide-open race. We are coming off a very good second, and I pretty much ran a short horse because we didn't get a shot to train a whole lot because of the weather. This will be stepping up for him, but at this time of the year horses can improve by leaps and bounds."

Fund of Funds, a son of Saint Ballado, was jumping a condition when he ran second to Atfirst Blush in his last start at a mile around two turns. In his previous start, Fund of Funds won a 1 1/8-mile maiden race by 12 1/4 lengths over the inner track on Feb. 20.

Shaun Bridgmohan will ride Fund of Funds, who is scheduled to fly to Chicago on Wednesday.

Fund of Funds, owned by Klaravich Stables, was made a supplemental nominee to the Triple Crown over the weekend.

Excelsior shaping up

Snake Mountain, shooting for his fifth consecutive stakes win, was assigned 122 pounds as the highweight for Saturday's $200,000 Excelsior Breeders' Cup.

Snake Mountain drops a pound from his last race, when he won the ungraded Stymie by a nose over Classic Endeavor, who is weighted at 113 pounds for the Excelsior.

Classic Endeavor, the most improved runner during Aqueduct's meet, will have a new rider in the Grade 3 Excelsior. Apprentice Luis Chavez, who has ridden Classic Endeavor in his last five starts, including three wins, will be replaced by C.C. Lopez.

"He's ready for a journeyman now," said Scott Schwartz, Classic Endeavor's trainer. "I don't want to go in a big stakes with a bug - that's asking a lot."

- Wednesday's feature is an allowance race for nonwinners-of-two lifetime starts. Six males entered the 1 1/8-mile race including Looking Around, who will get first-time Lasix after finishing second in his last start. Dr. Rockett, a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Evening Attire, has been stuck at this level forever, but is a consistent check-earner.

- Announcer Tom Durkin will be back to work on Wednesday after a vacation in Italy.