07/28/2004 12:00AM

Cutback suits Nothing to Lose

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Coming off a good effort in the Grade 1 United Nations, returns to his preferred distance in Friday's $150,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap, the first of 16 turf stakes scheduled at the Saratoga meet.

The eight-horse field includes stakes winners Silver Tree, Quest Star, Irish Colonial, Union Place, and Quiet Ruler. Evening Attire, a Grade 1 winner on the dirt, was entered to run on the turf, but the gelding's trainer, Pat Kelly, said he might scratch if the turf is soft.

Gygistar, a Grade 1 winner on the dirt at Saratoga, was entered main-track only.

Nothing to Lose took the lead at the top of the stretch in the 1 3/8-mile United Nations at Monmouth on July 3. He was outkicked in the final sixteenth by Request for Parole and Mr O'Brien. Nothing to Lose finished third, beaten 1 1/4 lengths.

"A mile and an eighth will be better for him," said Nothing to Lose's trainer, Bobby Frankel.

Nothing to Lose, who will be ridden by John Velazquez and carries 117 pounds as the highweight in the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch, won two graded stakes at 1 1/8 miles last year. He drew post 7.

Silver Tree has lost the three stakes he has run in this year, but he did defeat Nothing to Lose in an optional claimer at Belmont in June.

Jerry Bailey, who has teamed with Silver Tree's trainer, Bill Mott, to win four of the last six runnings of the Bernard Baruch, rides Silver Tree.

If the turf is on the firm side, which is doubtful because the course absorbed plenty of rain this week, Union Place should be a strong contender for trainer Randy Schulhofer.

Schulhofer said Union Place, who has a win and two seconds from his last three starts, would not run if the turf is soft. Union Place finished second in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy in April and then was second to Quantum Merit, who came back to win his next two starts in stakes. Union Place won his most recent start in an optional claimer on June 4 at Belmont.

"He likes the turf hard as a brick," Schulhofer said.

Javier Castellano rides Union Place from post 8.

Schulhofer also entered Irish Colonial, who likes a soft course. The last time Irish Colonial ran at Saratoga, he was beaten a half-length in the Grade 3 Saranac in 2002. Jean-Luc Samyn rides.

The only time Evening Attire raced on the turf, in October 2001 he finished sixth.