05/11/2005 12:00AM

'Forest' preps for Met Mile

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ELMONT, N.Y. - Forest Danger, winner of the Grade 1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct last month, breezed five furlongs on Belmont's main track Wednesday as he continues preparations for the $750,000 Metropolitan Handicap on May 30.

Forest Danger was timed in 1:00.67, the fifth-fastest of 15 workouts at the distance.

Among those also expected to run in the Met Mile is Ghostzapper, the defending Horse of the Year who has not started since winning the Breeders' Cup Classic last fall.

"I've got the utmost respect for Ghostzapper, but Forest Danger is an awfully good horse and both his races this year have been super," said trainer Todd Pletcher. "It will be a good test for our horse, and we'll see what happens."

Coming off a nine-month layoff for a fractured hind leg, Forest Danger made his 4-year-old debut at Gulfstream Park on Valentine's Day, and won a 6 1/2-furlong allowance in track-record time, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 118. He returned to win the seven-furlong Carter in 1:20.46, and earned a Beyer of 115.

Tuesday, Ashado, who clinched last season's 3-year-old filly Eclipse winning the Breeders' Cup Distaff, drilled five furlongs on the main track in a bullet 59.04 seconds, the fastest of 24 works at the distance.

Ashado was withheld from last Friday's Louisville Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs because Pletcher was unhappy with her weight assignment. Pletcher is considering the $200,000 Shuvee Handicap on May 21 for her next start.

"I'm waiting to see the weights," he said.

Artie Schiller preps for Dixie

Artie Schiller, who won the Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland in his first start as a 4-year-old, breezed seven furlongs on the main track Wednesday in 1:25.93. Trainer Jimmy Jerkens said Artie Schiller is likely to run next in the Dixie Handicap at Pimlico on the Preakness undercard.

Jerkens said that Reel Legend, who won his maiden and preliminary allowance conditions at Aqueduct, will run next in either Pimlico's Sir Barton on Preakness Day or the Peter Pan at Belmont the following week.

"He's gotten a little nervous shipping, so I'm not really sure if I want to ship him around," said Jerkens. "Who knows? If he runs well in the Peter Pan maybe we would take a shot at the big one," meaning the Belmont Stakes.

* L'Oiseau d'Argent, who failed to respond to rating tactics and finished last of five in the recent Fort Marcy Handicap, drops to an optional claimer on the inner turf in Friday's featured eighth race. He appears the main speed in a short field that also includes Chilly Rooster, Gigli, Saint Stephen, and Cottage. Country Judge was entered for the main track only.