07/22/2002 11:00PM

Del Mar Show has tough act to follow

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - With two-time Bernard Baruch winner Hap retired, trainer Bill Mott will turn to Del Mar Show to keep his streak alive in the Grade 2, $150,000 turf race that will be run for the 44th time Friday at Saratoga.

In addition to winning the last two Bernard Baruchs with Hap, Mott won the race in 1998 with Yagli. In 1999, Middlesex Drive beat Mott's Tangazi by a neck.

Hap was a nine-furlong specialist who won the Bernard Baruch as the favorite both times. He was retired last month because of an ankle injury.

"I always thought Hap was a little better, but this little horse has come on and been very respectable," Mott said of Del Mar Show.

, a 5-year-old son of Theatrical, has won 8 of 16 starts including the Grade 2 New Hampshire Sweepstakes in his most recent outing.

Before the New Hampshire Sweepstakes, Del Mar Show finished second behind Strut the Stage in the Grade 2 Dixie Handicap on Preakness Day. In that race, Strut the Stage made an easy, uncontested lead before repelling a challenge from Del Mar Show, who made an early move at the front-runner.

"Jerry [Bailey] pushed him up in the race because nobody was going after the horse on the lead," Mott said. "It wasn't what we wanted to do, but somebody had to go after him."

While Hap relished the nine furlongs of the Bernard Baruch, Del Mar Show is only 1 for 7 at the distance. "A mile and a sixteenth may suit him better," Mott said.

Del Mar Show will carry 120 pounds, one less than probable favorite Forbidden Apple. Others expected to run include No Slip (117), Baptize (116), Volponi (116), Navesink (115), Dr. Kashnikow (114), and Full Flow (113).

Stronach buys a piece of Carson Hollow

Frank Stronach has purchased a 60 percent interest in Carson Hollow, the undefeated Grade 1 winner who will take on You in Saturday's Test Stakes. As part of the transaction, Richard Dutrow Jr. will remain the filly's trainer.

"Stronach bought Lite the Fuse from my mom and we've sold him a couple of mares in the past," Dutrow said. "He's the controlling partner in Carson Hollow with 60 percent. The first horse I train for him will be running in a Grade 1, but I don't feel any pressure because she's doing so good.

"It's a very good deal for me," Dutrow added. "I am going to be her trainer for the rest of her career. The other owners were looking out for me when they made the deal. They wouldn't have considered selling her unless I stayed on as trainer."

Hemlock Hills Farm and Gabrielle Farm own Carson Hollow, a New York-bred daughter of Carson City. She has won all four of her starts and gave Dutrow his first Grade 1 victory when she won the Prioress on July 6.

A field of six or seven is shaping up for the Test, run at seven furlongs. In addition to You and Carson Hollow, others expected to run include Imperial Gesture, Proper Gamble, Short Note, Spring Meadow, and possibly Bold World.

On Tuesday, Short Note worked four furlongs in 49.71 seconds over the Oklahoma training track.

McPeek barn ailing

Trainer Ken McPeek was hoping this would be his breakout meet at Saratoga. But a rash of injuries will sideline many of his top horses.

Belmont Stakes winner Sarava is sidelined for the year with a fractured cannon bone. Pisces, a multiple graded stakes winning turf marathoner, irritated his shoulder and has been turned out. A couple of promising 2-year-olds, Attemptress and White Cat, have been injured. White Cat, a colt, had a chip removed from an ankle and Attemptress, a filly, has a strained ligament that will sideline her for a long time.

"She was a very, very good filly," McPeek said. "That filly could have been anything."

Meanwhile, Repent and Take Charge Lady, McPeek's top two horses, are in training at Saratoga, but are unlikely to run at the meet. Repent, who is returning from surgery to remove a chip, is being pointed to the Pennsylvania Derby or the Washington Park Handicap. Take Charge Lady is being pointed for the Gazelle at Belmont on Sept. 7.

McPeek brought 34 horses to Saratoga. He has 14 stabled in Barn 71 and another 20 stabled just off the grounds in a barn he rented from Hunters' Hollow Equine Clinic.

Any success McPeek may have will likely come from his 2-year-old crop. He's high on King of the World, a colt, and Devil At the Wire, a filly.

"You'd like to have a signature meet up here but I've lost that opportunity because of poor timing," McPeek said.

Howard skipping Spa

Until last year when he was 1 for 17, trainer Neil Howard had been one of the most consistent of the Kentucky shippers at Saratoga. This year, however, Howard has chosen not to stable here, citing a lack of quality stock.

"Overall, I just didn't think I had the horses," said Howard, who has taken eight stalls at Arlington while opting to freshen most of his other horses. "It's tough enough when you have the horses."

Howard said he would most likely ship a few horses for certain races at the meet, but did not know which ones.

During the last three years, Howard had gone 11 for 60 at the meet.

Miss Linda starting Go for Wand highweight

Miss Linda, last year's Grade 1 Spinster winner, was assigned 119 pounds and will be the starting highweight in Sunday's $250,000 Go for Wand Handicap. The field of seven will also include Dancethruthedawn (118), Atelier (117), Forest Secrets (117), With Ability (117), Transcendental (113), and Too Scarlet (112).

On Tuesday, Atelier worked four furlongs in 49.58 seconds Tuesday over the Oklahoma training track. On Monday, Forest Secrets covered five furlongs in 1:02.13 over the training track.

* Holiday Runner, the undefeated juvenile filly trained by D. Wayne Lukas, worked a sharp five furlongs in 1:01.13 Tuesday over the training track. Clockers caught Holiday Runner in fractions of 12 seconds, 24, 36, and caught her galloping out six furlongs in 1:17. Holiday Runner is being pointed to the Adirondack Stakes on Aug. 12.