08/13/2001 12:00AM

Lovato in Special appearance


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Jockey Frank Lovato Jr. is playing a one-night stand in Saratoga. But you won't find him at the Parting Glass with his guitar.

Instead, Lovato will be here Wednesday to ride Lunar Bounty, the probable favorite in the Grade 2, $150,000 Saratoga Special for juvenile colts, which helps kick off the second half of the Saratoga meeting.

Lovato, the Eclipse Award-winning apprentice of 1980, was one of the more popular riders on the New York circuit for the last 20 years. As his business declined in the 1990's, he became better known for playing with the OTB Band on Monday nights at a local pub.

Last year, in an effort to further his riding career, Lovato left New York and found success on the New Orleans and Chicago circuit. Riding on that circuit helped him land the mount on Lunar Bounty, a son of Migrating Moon who is 2 for 2 for trainer Ronny Werner. In his last start, Lunar Bounty set a stakes record winning the Grade 2 Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs.

In that race, Lunar Bounty dueled between horses through fractions of 21.22 and 44.42 seconds and drew clear to win by 2 1/2 lengths, covering six furlongs in 1:09.90.

"I think the distance will give him a chance to let the race develop," said Lovato, whose last win here came on Aug. 14, 1999. "The last time, he got pressed from the inside and he ran like he still had something left."

Sanford winner Buster's Daydream is skipping the Saratoga Special, but Sanford second- and third-place finishers Seeking the Money and Heavyweight Champ are back. In the Sanford, Seeking the Money veered out to the right from his outside post while Heavyweight Champ veered in from the rail.

Seeking the Money is again drawn on the outside while Heavyweight Champ has drawn post 2. Trainer John Terranova has been pleased with Heavyweight Champ's progress since the Sanford and said he believes, with a clean break, he will be in the race early.

"I don't think he needs the lead to win, but I won't be unhappy if he breaks well and gets to the top," Terranova said. "You just have to give him his head. Let him run his race through the early stages without any resistance."

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas has gotten off to a tremendous start at this meet, going 10 for 24 (41.6 percent) through Sunday. He sends out Jump Start, a son of A.P. Indy, who won at first asking at Churchill but shows only two works since.

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