09/07/2005 11:00PM

It's Dutrow vs. Zito all weekend

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Nick Zito has High Fly making his first start since the Preakness in Sunday's Jerome.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainers Richard Dutrow Jr. and Nick Zito will not be limited in their battles this weekend to just Saturday's $500,000 Woodward Stakes. Dutrow and Zito will have at each other again on Sunday when Dutrow sends out Silver Train against Zito's High Fly in the $150,000 Jerome Handicap.

Zito and Dutrow send out 5 of the 6 runners in Saturday's Woodward Stakes, including favorites Saint Liam (Dutrow) and Commentator (Zito).

The Grade 2 Jerome marks the return to the races for High Fly, the Florida Derby winner who has not run since finishing 10th in the Preakness. High Fly, who also finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby, was given ample time to recover from his grueling spring campaign and Zito said he believes the time off served him well.

"No question, of all the 3-year-olds I had he needed it the most," Zito said of the freshening. "He's working unbelievable. He's worked as good as he worked for the Florida Derby."

High Fly, who also won the Aventura Stakes, is saddled with highweight of 120 pounds in the Jerome. He will spot his five expected rivals 5 to 7 pounds in the one-mile race.

Silver Train gets in light with 113 pounds. Two starts back, Silver Train won an entry-level allowance race by 6 3/4 lengths and ran six furlongs in 1:07.67, missing Artax's track record by .01. He was sent off the 6-5 favorite in the Amsterdam and finished third, but Dutrow believes there were excuses.

"I know something wasn't right with him at Saratoga," Dutrow said. "When he ran that race he hit both back legs six or seven times, which I've never seen."

Dutrow said he shipped Silver Train back to Aqueduct immediately after that race and is happy with the way the horse has trained since. On Thursday, Silver Train breezed four furlongs in 48.49 seconds at Aqueduct.

"I believe he's on top of his game," Dutrow said.

Others pointing to the Jerome, and their weight assignments, are Better Than Bonds (115), Naughty New Yorker (115), Awesome Twist (114), and Sir Greeley (114).

Stellar Jayne, Society Selection top Ruffian

Stellar Jayne and Society Selection combined to win four Grade 1 races last year as 3-year-olds. Sunday, both look to regain that Grade 1 winning form when they head an expected field of six in the $300,000 Ruffian Handicap at 1 1/16 miles.

Stellar Jayne should appreciate returning to Belmont Park where as a 3-year-old she won the Mother Goose and Gazelle and was second to Ashado in the Coaching Club American Oaks. In her only start this year, Stellar Jayne won a minor stakes over this track on July 2. She has since overcome a hind-end problem that forced her to miss the Go for Wand at Saratoga.

Stellar Jayne will be the starting highweight at 119 pounds under Jerry Bailey.

The Ruffian will be Society Selection's first start since undergoing throat surgery following her fourth-place finish in the Go for Wand. Society Selection won the Grade 1 Frizette over this track at 2 and the Grade 2 Shuvee here this year. She will carry 118 pounds under new rider Javier Castellano.

Others pointing to the race are Capeside Lady (116 pounds), Halory Leigh (116), Bending Strings (114), and possibly Taygete (113). On Thursday, Bending Strings worked four furlongs in 49.62 seconds at Belmont.

Grand Emporium to miss Belmont BC

Grand Emporium, winner of the Group 2 Godolphin Mile in March, will have his North American debut delayed after the 5-year-old gelding tied up earlier in the week and was forced to miss a workout. Grand Emporium was being pointed to Sunday's Grade 2, $200,000 Belmont Breeders' Cup Handicap.

"It's a muscle enzyme thing; you associate it more with fillies than colts," said Richard Mettee, the trainer for Godolphin Racing Inc.'s New York outfit. "It was just enough where I had to back off a little bit till his enzymes came down to normal parameters."

Mettee said Grand Emporium would be pointed to the Kelso Breeders' Cup Handicap on Oct. 2.

Shakespeare, undefeated in three starts, is the likely favorite for the Belmont Breeders' Cup scheduled for 1 1/8 miles on the inner turf. Others pointing to the race are Greek Sun, L'Oiseau d'Argent, Meteor Storm, and Proud Man.

Chowder's First out for the year

Chowder's First, who scored an electrifying last-to-first victory in the John Morrissey Handicap last month at Saratoga, will miss the remainder of the year because of an ankle injury, trainer Phil Serpe said.

Serpe had planned to run Chowder's First in Friday's General Douglas MacArthur Handicap as a prep for the Empire Classic next month.

Serpe said Chowder's First developed inflammation in his left ankle and needs a couple of months off. "I thought for sure he was going to have a chip, but he didn't," Serpe said. "We'll start him back in December."

* Funny Cide worked five furlongs in 1:00.61 Thursday morning over Belmont Park's main track. Funny Cide has not raced since finishing sixth in the Grade 1 Suburban on July 2. His connections are hoping to find a race for him in the next two weeks as a possible prep for the Jockey Club Gold Cup.