02/23/2005 1:00AM

G P Fleet signals he's ready to run

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NEW ORLEANS - Trainer Steve Flint was planning on entering Gigawatt in Saturday's $125,000 Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup Handicap, but another horse in his stable, G P Fleet, gave him second thoughts.

The Fair Grounds BC, at 1 1/8 miles on the turf, is the prep race for the meet's premier grass event, the Grade 2, $500,000 Marvin Muniz Memorial Handicap on March 19. The Muniz has been Flint's goal for the 5-year-old G P Fleet at this meet, and he wants to give him a race over the turf course here to make sure that he's comfortable with the loose, sandy surface.

A week ago, Flint was still evaluating G P Fleet's condition after the horse finished 11th last month in the Sunshine Millions Turf at Santa Anita Park. G P Fleet has looked so good on the track in the mornings that Flint judged him ready to run again.

"It's a gut decision," Flint admitted. "You have to do what's right for the horse. He really has bounced back and is training very well."

Flint entered G P Fleet, who will carry 117 pounds Saturday, in a turf race at Fair Grounds back in November, but the race came off the grass and he romped over the sloppy course, trouncing the stakes winner Candid Glen in the process. If the Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup is washed off the turf, Flint won't get his grass start, but G P Fleet will still be tough to beat.

One thing Flint said he wouldn't do is enter both Gigawatt and G P Fleet in the same race.

"They have two different owners, and I don't like pitting owners against each other," he said. "What can you say to the one whose horse loses?"

Other probable starters include the Steve Asmussen-trained Warleigh, the 120-pound highweight; Col. Bradley winner America Alive (118) from Neil Howard's barn; and Honor in War (119), who turned in an impressive 1:01.60 work last Saturday for trainer Paul McGee.

Others expected include Colorful Judgement (117), Rapid Proof (116), Demeteor (116), Social King (115), and Sea Dub (114).

'Beter Man Can' back with statebreds

The Beter Man Can will take a break from facing open-company stakes fillies and return to racing against Louisiana-breds, at least for the time being, trainer Patrick Mouton said.

"It wasn't my decision to make," said Mouton, deferring to The Beter Man Can's owner, Stanley Seelig.

The Beter Man Can will start in Sunday's $75,000 Battler Star Handicap at six furlongs against statebred fillies. She won the Tiffany Lass against open company last month, then ran an honest fourth two weeks ago in the Silverbulletday behind the awesome filly Summerly. Her connections wisely chose not to take on Summerly again in the Fair Grounds Oaks on March 12.

Cape Hope to stay in Florida

Dallas Stewart almost missed seeing his terrific 3-year-old filly Cape Hope win the Gaily Gaily at Gulfstream Park last Sunday. While Cape Hope was lining up to go into the gate, Stewart was in the Fair Grounds paddock saddling another horse.

"I hustled over to the monitor just in time to watch the race," said Stewart. "I was really impressed with the way she did it. Jerry Bailey said he was impressed with her too. That was a good field she beat. It looks like she's one of the best 3-year-old fillies on turf out there."

With no races left for her on the Fair Grounds racing schedule, Stewart plans to leave Cape Hope in Florida.

Stewart said Cape Hope will be pointed to the Herecomesthebride, a Grade 3 race at 1 1/8 miles, on March 19.

Vent Yourself tries turf

Vent Yourself goes for her third lifetime victory in as many starts in Friday's feature, a $36,500 allowance race for fillies and mares at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf.

A 4-year-old filly by The Name's Jimmy, Vent Yourself was claimed by owner Michael Gill out of her maiden win at six furlongs last December. She returned to win a nonwinners-of-two allowance race last month, also at six furlongs on the dirt.

Trainer Gamaliel Vazquez has entered Vent Yourself for the first time on turf in this spot. She has a good turf pedigree but exceptional off track breeding and the race is likely to be taken off the turf after heavy mid-week rain. Carlos Marquez Jr. will ride.

Her major rival appears to be the 5-year-old mare Our Love.

Harrison benefit raffle

Friends of jockey agent Jerry Harrison, who handled Gerard Melancon's book most recently until he was found to have cancer, are holding a benefit raffle to help cover his medical expenses.

First prize is two round-trip tickets on American Airlines to any destination the carrier flies in the continental United States. Second prize is a day at the races for eight people in a Fair Grounds suite. Third prize is a seven-day western Caribbean cruise for two from New Orleans aboard Caribbean Cruise Lines. Tickets, which cost $10 or three for $25, can be purchased from any jockey or jockey agent at Fair Grounds or from David Heitzmann in the racing office.

The drawing will be held March 6 after the seventh race. The winner does not have to be present.