04/28/2004 11:00PM

Forest Danger gives mile a try


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - After an eye-catching performance in the Bay Shore three weeks ago, Forest Danger is back in action at Aqueduct on Saturday in the $150,000 Withers.

The presence of , who is undefeated, has kept the Grade 3 Withers field to a minimum. Included in the small field were Gotham winner Saratoga Country, Best Turn winner Redskin Warrior, Oaklawn Park stakes winner Two Down Automatic, allowance winners One Tough Dude and Shaniko, and maiden winner Medallist.

Trainer Todd Pletcher entered Forest Danger and Shaniko, but said he will run only Forest Danger in the one-mile Withers.

Forest Danger's 110 Beyer Speed Figure in the seven-furlong Bay Shore is among the highest in the country for a 3-year-old this year. Owned by Aaron and Marie Jones, Forest Danger won the Grade 3 Bay Shore by 7 1/2 lengths and covered the distance in a sizzling 1:20.67, .63 seconds off the track record.

Pletcher said the Withers is the perfect opportunity to stretch out Forest Danger, a son of Forestry, over a track he clearly adores.

"We know he's blessed with enormous talent and speed, and one of the reasons this is a good spot to see how far he will go is because it's one turn," Pletcher said. "A one-turn race could stretch him out to a mile and a sixteenth around one turn at Belmont or to a two-turn race. Either way, [the Withers] is a good foundation."

Eibar Coa rides Forest Danger.

Saratoga County ran a big race at Aqueduct in the one-mile Gotham, which he won by 2 1/4 lengths March 20. He finished seventh in his next start in the two-turn Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 17. Trainer George Weaver decided to run Saratoga County back on only two weeks' rest in the Withers because the opportunities are limited for 3-year-olds to run in mile races around one turn.

, trained by Steve Asmussen, figures to receive respect based on his runner-up finish to the undefeated Smarty Jones in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn in February. Two Down Automatic ran back in the Northern Spur Breeders' Cup and won the mile race by 5 3/4 lengths in the slop. Two of his three career wins have come over wet tracks, but rain isn't in the forecast for Saturday.

One Tough Dude is 2 for 2 in mile races at Aqueduct, including an 11-length romp in a first-level allowance race March 24. Medallist is trained by Allen Jerkens, who won the Withers last year with Spite the Devil.

Delta Princess bids for repeat

Delta Princess posted a mild upset in last year's Beaugay Handicap over two top grass fillies, Wonder Again and Voodoo Dancer. Delta Princess will try to make it two in a row in Saturday's Beaugay, the first New York grass stakes of the year for fillies and mares.

The horse to beat in the Grade 3, $100,000-added Beaugay is Dedication, a Group 1 winner in France and the third-place finisher in last year's Grade 1 Matriarch at Hollywood Park.

Trained by Christophe Clement, Dedication finished second to Etoile Montante in the Grade 3 Las Cienegas Handicap at Santa Anita on April 4.

Javier Castellano rides Dedication, the 119-pound highweight in the 1 1/16-mile turf race.

Aud, a graded stakes winner, makes her first start since November in the Beaugay.