06/29/2003 11:00PM

Change of plans for Aldebaran, Midas Eyes


ELMONT, N.Y. - Bobby Frankel has changed plans for two of his key male horses, providing a mixture of good news and bad news for his New York colleagues who have horses pointing to this weekend's holiday stakes program at Belmont Park.

Aldebaran, the Metropolitan Handicap winner who was scheduled to ship back to California and run in Saturday's Grade 1, $300,000 Triple Bend Handicap at Hollywood Park, will now stay in New York and run in Friday's Grade 2, $150,000 Tom Fool Handicap at Belmont. Aldebaran, who is coming off a third-place finish in the Stephen Foster on June 14, will be the 122-pound highweight and overwhelming favorite in the seven-furlong Tom Fool.

"I don't want to have to ship him," Frankel said. "It looks like an easier race, and from there I'll go to the Forego.'' The Grade 1, $250,000 Forego Handicap is on Aug. 31 at Saratoga.

In the Tom Fool, Aldebaran will face a field that is expected to include State City, Najran, Here's Zealous, Northern Rock, Voodoo, Vodka, and possibly one or more of the Mark Shuman-trained Highway Prospector, Native Heir, and Tasty Caberneigh.

Meanwhile, Frankel has canceled plans to run Midas Eyes in Sunday's Grade 2, $150,000 Dwyer Stakes at 1 1/16 miles and will instead keep him sprinting. Midas Eyes, whose wins this year include the Swale Stakes and Derby Trial, will be pointed to the $150,000 Amsterdam Stakes at six furlongs at Saratoga on Aug. 2 and then the Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes on Aug. 23.

"I don't need him going long,'' said Frankel, referring to the fact he has Empire Maker and Peace Rules to run in the big summer races for 3-year-olds. "There's no program for him. I'm going to try and see if I can get him to the Breeders' Cup Sprint.''

On Monday, Midas Eyes worked five furlongs in 1:00.24, the fastest of 33 works at the distance over Belmont's main track.

Even though he is not running Midas Eyes in the Dwyer, Frankel will not replace him with Peace Rules. Frankel will stick to his original plan of training Peace Rules up to the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Aug. 3.

Though he won't be running in the Dwyer, Frankel will have plenty of stakes action to keep him busy this weekend. In addition to running Aldebaran in the Tom Fool, he will saddle both Lilac Queen and Pertuisane in the Grade 2, $250,000 New York Handicap for fillies and mares at 1 1/4 miles on turf.

Saturday, Frankel will saddle Dollar Bill in the Grade 1, $500,000 Suburban Handicap, and possibly War Zone in the Grade 3, $100,000 Poker Handicap at Belmont. At Monmouth, Frankel will send out Denon and Requete in the Grade 1, $750,000 United Nations Handicap. At Hollywood Park, Frankel is expected to run Personal Legend in the $750,000 American Oaks.

Spoken Fur, who gave Frankel his 30th graded stakes - and 12th Grade 1 - of the year in Saturday's Mother Goose Stakes, came out of the race in good order and will run next in the Grade 1, $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks on July 19, Frankel said.

Dynever likely to skip Dwyer too

Dynever, the Lone Star Derby winner, is expected to skip Sunday's Dwyer, trainer Christophe Clement said.

"There is nothing wrong with him, I just think I may want to give him a little bit more time,'' Clement said.

Clement planned to work Dynever on Tuesday at Belmont and officially announce his decision. Dynever last ran in the June 7 Belmont Stakes, finishing fourth behind Empire Maker.

If Dynever does not run, that would free jockey Edgar Prado to ride Sky Mesa in the Dwyer. Prado was Sky Mesa's regular rider last year when he won all three of his starts, including the Grade 1 Hopeful and the Grade 2 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland. Sky Mesa has been hampered by a foot injury this year, which has prevented him from running.

Monday, Sky Mesa worked five furlongs in 1:02, according to assistant trainer Donna Ward, though Sky Mesa was not credited with an official time by the clockers. Sky Mesa stood in the gate and then was backed out prior to working.

Donna Ward, the assistant to her husband, John, said that Sky Mesa will run in the Dwyer because she fears that an allowance race wouldn't go. Sky Mesa's mid-range goal is the Haskell.

"He's trained well for it,'' Ward said of the Dwyer. "If he gets beat, he gets beat. He's a nice horse; he's never disappointed us. It's hard when you're running against horses that have been running. He's on schedule; he's doing everything we've asked of him.''

As of Monday, the Dwyer looked to be shaping up a six-horse field: Best Minister (Jose Santos), Colita (Jerry Bailey), Go Rockin' Robin (Shaun Bridgmohan), Nacheezmo (no rider), Sky Mesa (Edgar Prado), and Strong Hope (no rider). John Velazquez would ride either Nacheezmo or Strong Hope.

Gygistar working his way back

Gygistar, winner of last year's Dwyer and King's Bishop, worked four furlongs in 48.62 seconds Monday, his second breeze since having a chip taken out of a knee in February. Last week, Gygistar worked three furlongs in 36.95 seconds.

Gygistar has not raced since Feb. 9, when he finished fifth in the Deputy Minister Handicap at Gulfstream Park. He came out of his last work prior to the Dubai Golden Shaheen with a chip in his right knee that needed surgery. Trainer Mark Hennig said he believes Gygistar could be back to the races during the Saratoga meet.

"He worked great today, appeared to come out of it well,'' Hennig said. "The encouraging thing is he switched leads right on the money. I was having trouble in Florida with that, but in hindsight maybe he was protecting himself. He's doing very well right now.''

Hennig said Summer Colony came out of her victory in Saturday's Molly Pitcher in good order and would be pointed to the Delaware Handicap on July 20. Raging Fever, who breezed four furlongs Monday in 49.52 seconds, is being pointed to the Honorable Miss at Saratoga on Aug. 1 while Gold Mover, who breezed four furlongs in 48.02 seconds on Monday, is being pointed to the Princess Rooney Handicap at Calder July 12.

Gryder to miss at least one week

Jockey Aaron Gryder suffered a severely sprained neck and a slight fracture at the base of his skull as the result of a spill following the running of Saturday's Mike Lee Stakes for New York-breds. Gryder, who was released from a Long Island hospital on Sunday afternoon, said he is expected to miss at least one week of riding.

Gryder, who left the hospital wearing a neck brace, said he was expected to meet with doctors again on Tuesday "to see what kind of therapy I would need.''

Gryder was aboard Infinite Justice, who finished fourth in the Mike Lee. About a sixteenth of a mile past the wire, Infinite Justice collapsed, unseating Gryder, who landed on the back of his head. Gryder was taken off the track on a stretcher and transported to North Shore University Hospital. An MRI revealed the injuries.

"My neck is extremely sprained,'' Gryder said. "I can only turn it one inch either way.''

Gryder said he thought Infinite Justice had a heart attack, but it turned out to be simply heat exhaustion, according to the attending veterinarians.

"It was almost like riding a horse and he falls off a cliff,'' Gryder said. "The last 70 yards he was trying; I thought he might get third. He sure didn't seem to me as a horse that was overly exhausted.''

* Harlan's Holiday and Evening Attire both put in workouts Monday for Saturday's Suburban. Harlan's Holiday went five furlongs in 1:01.58 while Evening Attire covered the same distance in 1:03.85.