05/20/2003 11:00PM

Congaree to carry 124 in Met Mile


ELMONT, N.Y. - Congaree, a winner of three graded stakes this year at distances ranging from seven furlongs to 1 1/8 miles, was assigned high weight of 124 pounds for Monday's $750,000 Metropolitan Mile at Belmont Park.

Congaree picks up two pounds off his 3 1/2-length win on April 12 in the Grade 1 Carter at Aqueduct, his last start.

Concerning the weight assignment, Congaree's trainer, Bob Baffert, said, "When you have a great horse, I guess you expect to carry those weights. It looks pretty good that we are going to run."

Congaree, who will be ridden by Gary Stevens, is scheduled to arrive in New York on Friday. The 5-year-old Congaree worked a bullet five furlongs at Churchill Downs on Tuesday.

Congaree was assigned five more pounds than Aldebaran, who is next in the Met Mile weights at 119.

Aldebaran, trained by Bobby Frankel, finished second to Congaree in the Carter while carrying 118 pounds. In his last start, Aldebaran won the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Handicap under 120 pounds.

The Grade 1 Met Mile is shaping up to be a terrific race. In addition to Congaree and Aldebaran, the probable starters are Smooth Jazz (117), Najran (116), Proud Citizen (116), Wake at Noon (115), and Peeping Tom (114). Saarland (114) is a possibility.

Aldebaran worked a half-mile in 49.25 seconds, breezing, over Belmont's main track on Wednesday.

A link to Funny Cide in Peter Pan

New York-bred Go Rockin' Robin, who makes his graded stakes debut in Saturday's $200,000 Peter Pan, shares a common bond with Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide.

Both horses are sons of Distorted Humor and were bred by WinStar Farm and foaled at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Joe and Anne McMahon are also the co-breeders of Go Rockin' Robin, whose unraced dam, Flag Support, is a daughter of the McMahons' stallion Personal Flag.

Herbert Schwartz bought Go Rockin' Robin as a weanling, when he was still at the McMahons' farm. Schwartz's son, Scott, Go Rockin' Robin's trainer, said he was attracted to the horse immediately.

"I saw him in the paddock and his look caught my eye," Scott Schwartz said. "It was more his looks than his pedigree, because nobody knew about Distorted Humor, because that was his first crop. I tell my dad, 'We came close to buying the Kentucky Derby winner,' because Funny Cide was probably in the same paddock as Go Rockin' Robin."

Last year, Go Rockin' Robin finished third behind Funny Cide in the Sleepy Hollow Stakes at Belmont.

In his last start, on May 2, Go Rockin' Robin won an open-company, first-level allowance race against older horses at 1 1/8 miles.

"He deserves a shot to run Saturday," Schwartz said. "The distance won't be a problem. Everybody kind of looks the same in there."

A small field is expected for the 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan. Joining Go Rockin' Robin are Alysweep, Christine's Outlaw, Nacheezmo, Spite the Devil, and Supervisor.

Spite the Devil worked seven furlongs in 1:30.14, breezing, at Belmont on Wednesday.

Farina moves tack to Belmont

Tony Farina will begin riding at Belmont on Friday. Farina, 24, will ride many of trainer Patrick Biancone's horses, according to the rider's agent, Derek Lawson. Farina is named on the Biancone-trained Pete's Hairtrigger in the third.

Farina, who came to the United States from France last October, rode Brancusi for Biancone in the Kentucky Derby. Brancusi set the pace for six furlongs before tiring and finishing last in the 16-horse field.

Lawson said that Farina, who spent the winter riding in California, would ride in New York throughout the summer, including the Saratoga meet.

"We want to ride for as many people as we can," Lawson said.

In this country, Farina's record is 9-7-10 from 68 mounts, with earnings of $589,758.