08/20/2001 12:00AM

Dowd to begin serving ban

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Trainer John Dowd has dropped his appeal with the New York State Wagering Board and will begin serving a 120-day suspension on Tuesday.

Dowd was originally suspended a year by the board in December 2000 after a positive test for the drug Ergonovine. Dowd filed several appeals with the board, which eventually reduced the suspension to four months.

"I finally decided to drop the latest appeal and start the days," Dowd said on Monday. "It just got to a point where it was too costly and not worth going on."

Dowd, who trains for former basketball player Bob Hurley, said the big horse in his barn, Songandaprayer, is currently in training with Juan Serey at Belmont Park.

"We've stopped on all the other horses Bobby had in training," said Dowd. "That includes Astrid, who suffered a small chip in her ankle in the Monmouth Oaks."

Hurley said Songandaprayer would make one or two more starts this year and that he is also close to finalizing a deal to sell a 40 percent interest in the colt to "a farm in Ocala, Fla." where Songandaprayer would begin standing stud in 2002. Hurley would not reveal the name of the buyer until the deal was complete.

"We stopped on him after the Jersey Shore Breeders' Cup," said Hurley of Songandaprayer. "He returned to training this week. The best case scenario would be to run him in one of the Breeders' Cup races. Either the Sprint or the Mile, although we know that's asking a lot, and time is not on our side. Our main goal is the Cigar Mile."