11/29/2001 1:00AM

Country Be Gold may finally get reward


JAMAICA, N.Y. - Country Be Gold has been about as consistent as owner Barry Seinfeld and trainer Steven Kappes could have hoped when they plucked him out of a dispersal sale for $150,000 in the fall of 2000.

In 14 starts since the purchase, Country Be Gold has a record of 3-2-5 and has earned a check in all but one start. In that span, he has earned $295,590.

After running against some of the best horses in training lately, Country Be Gold may be in line for his - and his trainer's - first stakes victory, in Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Queens County Handicap at Aqueduct.

In addition to not facing Grade 1-caliber competition Saturday, Country Be Gold will run around two turns and at a distance (1 3/16 miles) that should suit him nicely.

"He's a tryer, I like this horse," said Kappes, who was an assistant to trainer Allen Jerkens before taking out his license in 1991 at the age of 44. "We've banged heads with the best in the country and come up just a little short. I think as a 5-year-old, he'll be all right."

In his last three starts, Country Be Gold finished fourth behind Lido Palace in the Grade 1 Woodward, third behind Aptitude in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup, and second to Graeme Hall in the Grade 2 Stuyvesant. In the Gold Cup, Country Be Gold just missed second after hanging a bit in the stretch.

"He wasn't embarrassed the way he ran," Kappes said. "We thought a mile and a quarter was going to help. He kind of hung a little bit."

Although the Queens County will be Country Be Gold's 13th start of the year, Kappes does not see any signs of regression in the Summer Squall colt. Country Be Gold has worked four times since the Stuyvesant, including a bullet five-furlong move in 59.80 seconds on Nov. 25.

"We've given him plenty of time. He's just a super-strong type of horse," Kappes said.

Too Scarlet aims for stakes win

The sudden death of Prioress Stakes winner I'm Brassy of colitis in the summer of 2000 still stings trainer Kristina Dupps. But the emergence of Too Scarlet has helped ease the pain.

Too Scarlet, a 3-year-old daughter of Colonial Affair, will bring a five-race winning streak into Sunday's $75,000 Montauk Handicap for New York-breds.

"It does help to have her, definitely," Dupps said. "It takes some of the pain away. I thought I'm Brassy was going to be a true star."

In the next few weeks, Dupps should find out just how good Too Scarlet can be. Dupps hopes Too Scarlet runs well enough Sunday to take a shot in the Grade 3 Ladies Handicap on Dec. 22.

Thus far, Too Scarlet has not run beyond seven furlongs. Given that her sire won the Belmont Stakes, Too Scarlet should be able to handle the nine furlongs of the Montauk.

"I was very surprised she won going six furlongs at Saratoga," Dupps said. "All the riders have said she should go a distance and she should be much more effective."

At 115 pounds, Too Scarlet will get an eight-pound weight break from defending Montauk champion Pentatonic (123). Others expected to run include Lovely Amanda (120), Along Came Mary (117), Beijio (114), Smooth Blues (112), and Wild Cure (112). Brite Prospector (114) is a possible starter.

DQ confusion

Confusion reigned over a disqualification in Thursday's sixth race that could have resulted in plenty of winning tickets being thrown away.

No Parole, wearing saddlecloth No. 1, crossed the finish line first. Papua (8), finished second followed by Eye of the Comet (5), and Summer Dust (7), who dead-heated for third. However, the stewards posted an inquiry sign after No Parole drifted out during the stretch run, cutting off Eye of the Comet.

The New York Racing Association's new matrix board is unable to display the inquiry sign and dead-heat sign simultaneously, so bettors at simulcast outlets throughout the country were unaware there was a dead-heat involving Summer Dust, who was not impeded by No Parole.

The stewards were also unaware there was a dead heat, so when they disqualified No Parole from first they initially placed him third, behind Papua and Eye of the Comet, and the new unofficial order of finish on the toteboard read 8-5-1-7. It was removed from the board and put back on the board that way a second time.

Thankfully, before they made the race official, the stewards were informed there was a dead-heat for third. The final order of finish was correctly made official as 8-5-7-1.

* Juan Serey, the leading trainer in New York with 80 wins, snapped out of a prolonged slump Thursday when he sent out Chilean-bred Franbulo ($12.20) to win the featured eighth race. Serey was 0 for 22 at Aqueduct before that, and is only 4-for-58 in New York since July 25. For the year, Serey has 56 winners in New York.