08/12/2004 11:00PM

Irish Colonial two-surface threat


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - On Friday, the chances that Sunday's $100,000 West Point Handicap for New York-breds at Saratoga will be run on grass looked dim.

Heavy rain caused most of Thursday's grass races to be run on dirt, and there was no turf racing Friday. A weather system associated with Hurricane Charley could possibly dump several more inches of rain Saturday evening into Sunday.

The West Point, scheduled for 1 1/8 miles on the Mellon turf, drew a field of 12, plus three also-eligibles. If moved to the dirt, the distance will remain the same.

, the 121-pound turf highweight, could be the horse to beat on either surface. His dirt assignment is 117 pounds.

In Irish Colonial's last start, July 30, he was beaten less than a length while finishing third in the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch on a yielding course. He is 1 for 5 on the dirt, and won his maiden in the slop by 11 3/4 lengths at Aqueduct in 2002 and was second in the slop in the off-the-turf Lawrence Realization at Belmont later that year.

"I would rather run on soft turf, but we discussed it and would run in the slop," said Randy Schulhofer, Irish Colonial's trainer. Jean-Luc Samyn rides Irish Colonial from post 8.

would most likely run if the race was moved to the main track, according to his trainer, Gregory Sacco. Foreverness is without a win in two starts on the dirt, but his turf form is terrific. In the spring, Foreverness was beaten a nose by Quantum Merit in the Kingston. Quantum Merit came back and won the Grade 2 Firecracker Breeders' Cup.

"I would prefer the turf, but he works great in the mud," Sacco said. "He is a tricky horse in that you need to wait as long possible to move with him. If you make a premature move, he lopes. If you lay close, you need to keep him under cover."

Jerry Bailey, who has ridden Foreverness to two wins, rides from post 6.

, the 124-pound highweight for the main track, won the Grade 3 Withers last year at Aqueduct.

, who won this race two years ago and was second last year, is best on firmer ground.