04/01/2005 1:00AM

Castellano gets two-day suspension


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Javier Castellano's first trip to Dubai produced a memorable victory aboard Saratoga County in the $2 million Golden Shaheen. It also will keep him out of action here Sunday and again the following Sunday at Keeneland.

Castellano was handed a two-day suspension by the stewards at Nad Al Sheba for his ride aboard Saratoga County in the six-furlong Golden Shaheen, despite the fact they did not disqualify the horse from his one-length victory over longshot Tropical Star.

Saratoga County came in slightly, forcing the favored Pico Central to steady for a moment about a furlong from the finish of the Golden Shaheen. Jockey Alex Solis, who rode Pico Central, claimed foul against Castellano and Saratoga County, but the stewards disallowed the claim.

"They have different rules in Dubai regarding disqualifications and giving riders days," said Castellano. "I bothered the other horse a little bit, and over there, if the stewards think you cost another horse a placing, they will give days even if they don't disqualify your mount."

Castellano explained that he must serve his suspension on the next two Sundays because those are the first two days on which racing will be conducted in Dubai following the World Cup.

Castellano is making a habit of winning rich races, having also ridden Ghostzapper to victory

in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic last October.

"I feel very fortunate to have been able to win that kind of race in my first trip to Dubai," said Castellano. "I was very confident in my horse going in, and while it was also a new experience riding a six-furlong race down a straightaway, our strategy was just to stay near Pico Central, and fortunately it worked out right."

Castellano will head to Keeneland and then on to New York after wrapping up his business on Florida Derby Day. Riding full time at Gulfstream for the first time this winter, Castellano entered Friday's card in second place in the jockey standings behind Edgar Prado.

Bandini heading for Blue Grass

Bandini, who was forced to scratch out of Saturday's Grade 1 Florida Derby because of a bruised foot, was back under tack at Palm Meadows training center on Friday and was scheduled to go back to the track Saturday, said his trainer, Todd Pletcher. On Sunday, Bandini will fly to Keeneland, where Pletcher hopes he will be able to get him ready in time to make the Blue Grass Stakes April 16.

"I've still got to get a couple of works under him in Kentucky, but I think if all goes well, we'll be able to get him to the Blue Grass," said Pletcher.

Pletcher said he is confident he will also be able to get Forest Danger to New York to compete in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap as scheduled on April 9. Forest Danger, who set the 6 1/2-furlong track record here on Feb. 14 in his 2005 debut, was shipped from Palm Meadows to Keeneland last week. To be allowed into New York, he must test negative for strangles after April 2.

"Right now I think we're fine to get there," said Pletcher. "We should have the test results back in time for him to make his scheduled flight to New York on the 7th."

Silver Wagon's plans unsettled

Along with Forest Danger, Carter hopefuls Medallist and Silver Wagon were also stabled in south Florida at the time that New York issued its temporary restriction on horses shipping from this area.

"Right now I'm not sure what we're going to do," said Ralph Ziadie, who trains Silver Wagon for Mahmoud Fustok's Buckram Oak Farm. "The lab here assures me they'll have my test results back by Tuesday and there is a flight to New York on Wednesday, but at the moment my plans remain up in the air. The alternative would be to wait a week and send him to Keeneland for the Grade 2 Commonwealth, which might be coming up an easier race."

Last out, Silver Wagon finished fourth in the Grade 2 Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Sprint on March 12.

"I thought he'd run a little better in his last start, although the race was very fast and three good horses beat him," said Ziadie. "I'll discuss our options with Mr. Fustok over the weekend before making a final a decision on whether to go to the Carter or Kentucky."