06/28/2004 12:00AM

It's plan B if it rains


ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainers Bobby Frankel and Christophe Clement will have one eye on The Weather Channel and the other on their horses this week as they try to get ready for Saturday's Grade 1, $500,000 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park.

Neither Frankel, who trains Peace Rules, nor Clement, who trains Dynever, want to run their horse on an off track. As of Monday, the forecast called for scattered thunderstorms Saturday. Both Frankel and Clement said that if the track comes up wet Saturday, they will most likely scratch and run in the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 10.

The Gold Cup became a bit more attractive anyway with the news that Southern Image would be forced to miss that race because of a foot injury.

Peace Rules was made the 120-pound highweight for the Suburban, run at 1 1/4 miles, a distance at which Peace Rules has never won. The Hollywood Gold Cup is also run at 1 1/4 miles. Earlier this year, Peace Rules won the New Orleans and Oaklawn Park handicaps, both at 1 1/8 miles. Most recently, Peace Rules finished fourth in the Stephen Foster Handicap, a race run over a sloppy track.

"I got the Hollywood Gold Cup if it rains here," Frankel said Monday in his Belmont Park office as he watched The Weather Channel.

Clement has never been shy about shipping his horses to California, but he said Monday that his first choice is to run Dynever in the Suburban.

"If for some reason the track would come up sloppy, yes, the Hollywood race would be an option," said Clement, whose horse is coming off a solid second-place finish in the Brooklyn Handicap. "Choice one, Suburban; choice two, Hollywood Gold Cup."

Dynever was assigned 116 pounds for the Suburban. Others pointing to the race include Stephen Foster winner Colonial Colony (116), 2003 Meadowlands Cup winner Bowman's Band (115), and multiple Grade 3 winner Newfoundland (114). Sarava (113), Congrats (113), and Devil Time (113) are possible.

On Sunday, Peace Rules worked a half-mile in 47.82 seconds, while Newfoundland went five-eighths in 1:01.16 and Bowman's Band went six furlongs in 1:13.31.

Frankel makes plans for Ghostzapper

Another horse for whom Frankel is debating plans is Ghostzapper, who is scheduled to return to the races in Sunday's Grade 2, $150,000 Tom Fool Handicap here. Ghostzapper has not run since winning the Grade 1 Vosburgh here last September.

But the defection of Speightstown from Saturday's Grade 1 Triple Bend at Hollywood Park combined with the iffy forecast here for the weekend has Frankel considering the Triple Bend for Ghostzapper.

"There's a chance," he said.

He must make a decision by Wednesday, because that's when the plane leaves from New York for Los Angeles.

"It's $150,000, Grade 2 versus putting him on a plane for Grade 1, $300,000," Frankel said. "He ran good over [the Hollywood] track - he won by nine lengths - so it's not like he doesn't like the track."

Ghostzapper is 2 for 2 at Belmont, including an entry-level allowance score in the mud last June.

Weights for the Tom Fool were due out Tuesday. Those considered definite starters are Aggadan, Lion Tamer, and Unforgettable Max. Eye of the Tiger, Highway Prospector, and Conservation are possible.

Island Sand has throat surgery

Island Sand, the Acorn winner who finished third behind Stellar Jayne in Saturday's Mother Goose Stakes, underwent throat surgery Monday morning to repair an entrapped epiglottis. Island Sand will most likely miss the Coaching Club American Oaks on July 24 and will be pointed to the Grade 1, $750,000 Alabama at Saratoga on Aug. 21, trainer Larry Jones said.

Jockey Terry Thompson had told Jones immediately after the Mother Goose that he heard Island Sand make a noise during the race. On Monday, Dr. Patty Hogan performed laser surgery on Island Sand at the New Jersey Equine Clinic in Clarksburg, N.J., to remove the web of tissue that blocked the epiglottis.

Both Hogan and Jones said the surgery went well. Typically, Hogan said, a horse that undergoes such a procedure will be limited to light exercise for a week to 10 days. Jones said Island Sand, who was back at Belmont Park by mid-afternoon Monday, was to be flown back Wednesday to Kentucky, where she will return to her Ellis Park barn.

Jones said he was somewhat relieved to have an excuse for Island Sand's disappointing performance in the Mother Goose. Despite the entrapment, she was beaten only 4 1/4 lengths.

"Whenever you see something you can fix, you're happy about that," Jones said. "Supposedly they come back to be 100 percent."

Island Sand will likely be on the same flight back to Kentucky that will carry Stellar Jayne. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas plans on running Stellar Jayne back in the Coaching Club, where she will once again meet Ashado, the Kentucky Oaks winner, who finished second in the Mother Goose.

Chocolate Brown career in jeopardy

Like Island Sand, Chocolate Brown had an excuse for her poor effort in Sunday's Astoria Stakes. Only this injury was for more severe, and, in all likelihood, Chocolate Brown will not race again.

Chocolate Brown, fifth in the Astoria, suffered a fractured sesamoid in her left foreleg, trainer Jason Servis said. Servis, who on Monday consulted with physicians on how to best deal with the injury, said the chances that Chocolate Brown would race again are "not good."

"What a bummer," said Servis, who trained Chocolate Brown to victories in her first two starts. "It was totally unexpected, too. I thought she was going to win; she was going into the race terrific. The first eighth of a mile I wouldn't have traded places with anybody."

* Timo, who overcame a troubled trip to win Saturday's Grade 3 Kent Breeders' Cup Handicap at Delaware Park, will run next in either the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 9 or the Grade 1, $400,000 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park on Aug. 14. "He showed something to me the other day," said trainer Billy Badgett. "He was in trouble every step of the way and he overcame it."