09/27/2001 11:00PM

Ferraro has pair of favorites


ELMONT, N.Y. - When trainer Mike Ferraro decided to enter both

Smokieisabandit and Shesastonecoldfox in the Sept. 3 New York Breeders' Futurity at Finger Lakes, jockey John Grabowski decided to flip a coin to determine which one he would ride.

Unfortunately for Grabowski, the coin toss landed him on the 2-year-old colt Smokieisabandit, who finished fifth behind the filly Shesastonecoldfox, under John Davila Jr.

Sunday, Grabowski won't have to leave those decisions to chance as he will be riding the 2-year-olds in a pair of $75,000 stakes for New York-breds at Belmont Park.

Shesastonecoldfox heads a field of nine entered in the Joseph A. Gimma for fillies, and Smokieisabandit tops a seven-horse field in the Bertram F. Bongard for colts. Both races are at seven furlongs.

Both debuted at Saratoga, a day apart, in early August and were heavily bet winners. Shesastonecoldfox romped to a 3 3/4-length victory on Aug. 8, came back 10 days later and won the Lady Fingers Stakes at Finger Lakes, and then returned 15 days after that to beat the boys in the New York Breeders' Futurity.

"The owners, Dennis and Debbie Petrisak, have wanted to win that race since they got into the breeding business 13 or 14 years ago," said Ferraro, who noted that the Petrisaks bred the filly. "She'd been flawless so far and I felt she deserved a chance against the boys. I was surprised she beat [Smokieisabandit], but we found he had a lung infection."

Shesastonecoldfox's three victories have come at six furlongs and she must demonstrate she can carry her speed going seven furlongs over a new surface.

Ferraro believes both Shesastonecoldfox and Smokieisabandit will be up to the task.

"The way they won, they seem to rate. and the family on both sides suggests they can go long," Ferraro said. "I have a couple of half-sisters to Shesastonecoldfox, one goes long, one goes short."

Trainer Gary Gullo sends out a pair of fillies against Shesastonecoldfox.

Whataboutus won a 5 1/2-furlong race at Saratoga on Aug. 10, while Storm Dream will make her first start for Gullo and first against New York-breds.

Whataboutus won despite throwing jockey Jorge Chavez in the post parade, injuring the rider's knee.

Princess Dixie, who twice has finished second to Shesastonecoldfox, and Queen of Saratoga, away from the races since May, look like the best price plays in the Joseph A. Gimma.

Ferraro felt Smokieisabandit was a work or two short when he won his maiden at Saratoga on Aug. 9 in a mediocre 1:12.84 for six furlongs. He came back in nine days and won the Aspirant Stakes at Finger Lakes before the New York Breeders' Futurity.

Smokieisabandit figures to face challenges from Catbite, Never Give In, and Eye of the Comet.

Catbite has not been out since winning his maiden going 5 1/2 furlongs at Belmont on July 20. That also happened to be the last winner saddled in New York by his trainer, Bill Badgett, who is 0 for 47 since.

Never Give In, one of five 2-year-old winners saddled by Bill Mott at Saratoga, won his maiden going 6 1/2 furlongs, so the added sixteenth of a mile should not be a problem.