04/22/2003 12:00AM

Harlan's Holiday could face Volponi in Brooklyn

Email

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Harlan's Holiday has bounced out of his second-place finish in last month's Dubai World Cup so well that trainer Todd Pletcher is now considering pointing him to the $250,000 Brooklyn Handicap at Belmont Park June 14.

Initially, Pletcher said the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga Aug. 2 was the next objective, with a possible prep race before then. Now, Pletcher seems more confident that prep could be in the Grade 2 Brooklyn, a race that may feature Breeders' Cup Classic winner Volponi.

"He seems to have come back in such good shape, I don't think we have to wait that long,'' Pletcher said. "I think we might be better off having a race between now and [the Whitney]. We'll point him to the Brooklyn and see how things go.''

Pletcher said Harlan's Holiday, who in February won the Grade 1 Donn Handicap, has been galloping every day for the last week at Belmont.

Meanwhile, Pletcher said he is pointing Balto Star to the Pimlico Special May 16. Balto Star is coming out of a second-place finish behind Classic Endeavor in the Grade 3 Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap at Aqueduct April 5.

"We were planning on going anyway; obviously it's a little more enticing without Medaglia d'Oro," Pletcher said of the Pimlico Special.

Pletcher said the 4-year-old Smooth Jazz, the impressive winner of the Commonwealth Breeders' Cup Handicap at Keeneland, will be pointed to the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap May 26 at Belmont.

Smooth Jazz, who was purchased privately by Michael Tabor early in his 3-year-old year, was well beaten in all three of his stakes tries last year. Pletcher said Smooth Jazz's season reminded him of Left Bank's 3-year-old year.

"When he ran some big races, they just happened to be in allowance races. Then, he was not able to fire back in stakes,'' Pletcher said of Smooth Jazz. "We decided to shorten him up in the Fall Highweight instead of running in the Cigar Mile last fall. It was hard to get it all right.''

This year, Smooth Jazz finished a non-threatening fifth in the Richter Scale Breeders' Cup before winning the Commonwealth by three lengths and earning a 117 Beyer Speed Figure.

Indy Dancer at Rood and Riddle

Pletcher said that Indy Dancer earlier this week was sent to Rood and Riddle equine hospital, where he was to be examined by Dr. Larry Bramlage. Indy Dancer finished sixth in the Wood Memorial after running third in the Florida Derby.

"He was kind of stiff coming out of his last race and had a little filling in his right knee,'' Pletcher said.

Pletcher said Lion Tamer, unsuccessful in his bid to stretch out in distance after winning the Hutcheson Stakes so impressively in February, may run in the Riva Ridge on Belmont Day. Pletcher said he has no plans for Aristocat, the Tampa Bay Derby runner-up.

Derby disappointment for Bridgmohan

Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan was all pumped up to ride in his first Kentucky Derby, so the news that his mount Fund of Funds had suffered a torn tendon and would miss the race took the wind out of his sails Tuesday morning.

"I was looking forward to it," Bridgmohan said. "It would have been my first Kentucky Derby.

"The last race he ran," Bridgmohan continued, referring to a second-place finish in the Illinois Derby, "he really stepped it up. I felt with a little more racing experience he'd have a chance.''

Bridgmohan would have gone to Louisville with a bevy of confidence. Last Friday, he won the Grade 3 Comely Stakes aboard Cyber Secret, upsetting champion Storm Flag Flying. Saturday, he came back and won four races.

Bridgmohan will be on the move this week as he rides in New York Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, Keeneland on Thursday, and Hawthorne on Saturday.

Celtic Memories returns Thursday

Celtic Memories, a stakes-placed 2-year-old last year, makes his 3-year-old debut in Thursday's nominal feature, an entry-level allowance race for 3-year-olds at one mile.

Though he won his maiden on turf, Celtic Memories ran a creditable second, beaten a head, in the Pilgrim Stakes, which was moved from the turf to the dirt. He ended his campaign with a last-place finish in the Grade 2 Remsen.

Celtic Memories, a son of Tabasco Cat, has been training well for Stanley Hough, who is adept at bringing horses back from a layoff.

The Richard Dutrow-trained entry of Epic and Kings of the Ring should be tough. Epic cuts back to one turn after finishing seventh in a tough, nine-furlong entry-level allowance race at Gulfstream in March. Kings of the Ring won his maiden by 11 lengths over the main track last fall, albeit for a $50,000 claiming tag.

* Beautiful America, the New York-bred champion 2-year-old filly from last year, worked five furlongs in 1:05.12 Tuesday over a sloppy Belmont training track. She is being pointed to Sunday's $150,000 Park Avenue Division of the New York Stallion stakes. Jose Santos, her regular rider from last year, will be aboard.

* Jerry Bailey has picked up the mount aboard Grey Comet for Sunday's $150,000 Times Square Division of the New York Stallion Stakes.

* If Saturday's Fort Marcy Handicap, scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on turf, is rained off to the dirt, it would be run at one mile, not 1 1/8 miles as previously reported.