09/15/2002 11:00PM

Frankel fine-tuning his strategy


ELMONT, N.Y.- Trainer Bobby Frankel has redesigned the Breeders' Cup campaign for two of his top contenders for next month's World Thoroughbred Championships at Arlington Park.

Squirtle Squirt, the defending Breeders' Cup Sprint winner and divisional champion, will have his final prep in the Grade 3, $250,000 Phoenix Breeders' Cup Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 5. The following day, Beat Hollow, who is being pointed to the Breeders' Cup Mile, will run in the Grade 1, $600,000 Shadwell Keeneland Turf Mile.

Both horses are currently in training at Belmont Park. Frankel said the conditions of the Phoenix are such that Squirtle Squirt would get in with low weight because the horse has not won this year. Had Frankel opted to run Squirtle Squirt in Saturday's Grade 1 Vosburgh at Belmont or the Grade 2 Forest Hills Handicap here on Oct. 6, he would have had to carry top weight.

"If I ran in the Forest Hills, I'd have to give all the horses weight," Frankel said, before explaining that in the Phoenix, "I get seven pounds off of [Squirtle Squirt]."

On Saturday, Squirtle Squirt worked five furlongs in 1:00.68 at Belmont.

Following Beat Hollow's victory in the Grade 1 Arlington Million in August, Frankel said he would simply train the horse up to the Breeders' Cup Mile. The combination of the way Beat Hollow is training plus the specter of running against the streaking Rock of Gibraltar in the Mile prompted Frankel to run sooner.

"It's equal weights, $600,000, and a Grade 1," Frankel said. "What the heck, am I going to wait for the Breeders' Cup? I'm liable to get my ass kicked by Rock of Gibraltar. You got to take what you can take."

Beat Hollow worked five furlongs at Belmont on Saturday, but was only credited with a three-furlong move in 36.45 seconds. Frankel estimated that Beat Hollow worked in 1:01.

Though Frankel will be shipping two of his stars out of town, he will be well represented in upcoming New York stakes. This weekend, Frankel could send out the favorite in three graded events at Belmont with Aldebaran (Vosburgh) and Tates Creek (Noble Damsel) on Saturday and Chiselling in Sunday's $200,000 Jamaica Handicap.

The following weekend, Frankel will saddle Lido Palace and Milwaukee Brew in the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup, Starine in the $750,000 Flower Bowl and Denon and either Timboroa or Skipping in the $750,000 Turf Classic Invitational.

Frankel said he has not decided whether You will run in the Breeders' Cup Distaff or get the rest of the year off. She finished second behind Mandy's Gold in Saturday's Ruffian after dueling Raging Fever through hot fractions.

"She's fine," he said. "The only race I would probably run her in is the Breeders' Cup. It depends on her and who's going in there."

Meanwhile, Frankel has made another 2-year-old purchase for owner Edmund Gann, for whom he had purchased You, Labamta Babe, and Medaglia d'Oro. Frankel bought Midas Eyes, a Touch Gold colt who won his maiden by eight lengths at Calder on Aug. 17 after running second in his debut on Aug. 3. Midas Eyes covered 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.84, .45 of a second off the track record.

"I have no plans for him," Frankel said.

Three options for Harlan's Holiday

Harlan's Holiday worked five furlongs Sunday morning in 1:02.60, his first breeze since winning the Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 2. Which race Harlan's Holiday is working toward is still undetermined.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said Harlan's Holiday could run in either the $350,000 Pegasus Handicap at The Meadowlands on Sept. 27, the $1 million Jockey Club Gold at Belmont on Sept. 28, or the $400,000 Washington Park Handicap at Arlington on Sept. 29.

Pletcher is weighing the pros and cons to all three races and said he is not strongly leaning one way or the other. The Pegasus would allow Harlan's Holiday to compete against strictly 3-year-olds one more time. The Jockey Club Gold Cup is the most prestigious of the three and would not require a ship. The Washington Park Handicap would give Harlan's Holiday a race over the track in preparation for the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Boston Common to Gallant Bob Handicap

Boston Common, the front-running winner of Saturday's Grade 2 Jerome Handicap, will most likely make his next start in the $150,000 Gallant Bob Handicap at Philadelphia Park on Oct. 5.

Trainer Michael Pino said he and owner Richard Englander "lightly" talked about the Breeders' Cup Sprint but are more inclined to run in the Gallant Bob because it is at six furlongs against only 3-year-olds.

Startac dilemma for Mott

Trainer Bill Mott said he doesn't know what he will do next with Startac, winner of Saturday's Belmont Breeders' Cup Handicap at 1 1/8 miles. Startac does not appear suited for either the Breeders' Cup Turf at 12 furlongs or the Breeders' Cup Mile, but he is a Grade 1 winner over Arlington's turf course. Startac won the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at 10 furlongs there 13 months ago.

Mott said if Startac were to run in a Breeders' Cup race, it would most likely be the Mile.

"He really doesn't seem to be a stayer," Mott said. "We tried him at 1 3/8 miles and at 1 1/2 miles, and he tends to flatten out at the end."

Adding to Mott's dilemma is that he may have two better horses for the Mile. Del Mar Show, owned by the same connections that own Startac, will try the Shadwell Keeneland Turf Mile. Patrol, who came within .20 of a second of The Meadowlands turf course record for 1 1/16 miles winning the Rushing Man Stakes Friday night, will most likely run back in the Kelso at Belmont on Oct. 5.

Plans for Raging Fever

Raging Fever, who finished last as the favorite in Saturday's Ruffian Handicap, came out of the race in good shape, trainer Mark Hennig said, and would most likely make her next start in the $150,000, Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont on Oct. 5.

Hennig said Raging Fever was done in by battling You through hot early fractions after breaking slowly.

"I think so," Hennig said. "Going 45 and one after breaking a little slow - considering Carson Hollow went in 46 [in the Floral Park] - I think that was a little quick.

Hennig said Gold Mover, second to Carson Hollow in the Floral Park, would most likely make her next start in the $150,000, Grade 3 First Flight Handicap at Aqueduct on Oct. 26.