05/25/2005 12:00AM

Love of Money gets green light

Bill Denver/Equi-Photos
Love of Money, winning last year's Pennsylvania Derby, may come back on short rest if the track is wet for Monday's Metropolitan Handicap.

ELMONT, N.Y. - By splashing his way to a six-length victory in an allowance race Wednesday at Belmont Park, Love of Money may have earned himself a spot in the starting gate in Monday's Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap.

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said Love of Money would definitely run in the Met Mile if the track comes up wet. He will also consider running Love of Money on a fast track.

The Met is scheduled to mark the return to the races of Ghostzapper, the reigning Horse of the Year.

Under a snug hold from Edgar Prado, Love of Money went gate to wire over Belmont's sloppy main track, covering one mile in 1:35.27. He carved out fractions of 23.61 seconds, 46.31, and 1:10.52 in what amounted to a $30,000 paid public workout.

Love of Money, who won the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby last September, was making his first start since finishing third in the Grade 2 Strub Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb. 5. Dutrow said Love of Money came out of that race with a problem in his hind end.

"I told Edgar two things," Dutrow said. "I told him he needed to show us he belongs running in the Met and I don't want you to do too much with him. It looks like he showed us he belongs in the Met."

And, Prado barely moved a muscle on Love of Money, who did continue his habit of drifting out in the stretch. Love of Money figures to be among the pace horses in the Met, along with Medallist, another horse who tends to drift out.

Dutrow also has Saint Liam nominated to the Met, but said Wednesday that he will stick with his original plan of running him in the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 18.

Others pointing to the Met include Forest Danger, Medallist, Sir Shackleton, Pomeroy, and Silver Wagon. Swingforthefences is possible.

Egg Head now with McLaughlin

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is part of a group that purchased a 45-percent interest in the promising 3-year-old Egg Head. McLaughlin has taken over the training of Egg Head from the Philadelphia Park-based Lynda Knee.

Harvey Clark's Rabbit's Foot Stable retained majority interest in Egg Head, a 3-year-old son of Honor Grades who has won his last three starts by a combined 25 lengths. Egg Head won the Francis "Jock" LaBelle Memorial at Delaware Park on May 7, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 112. That figure equals the second-best by a 3-year-old this year.

"His form is very good," McLaughlin said. "We were trying to get something done earlier but we were busy with the Derby.''

McLaughlin said it is not unusual for him to own parts of horses he trains.

"When the right one becomes available, I'll take a piece," McLaughlin said.

McLaughlin said Egg Head may start next in the Riva Ridge Stakes at Belmont on June 11. That race is expected to draw the undefeated Lost in the Fog.

Meanwhile, McLaughlin said Derby runner-up Closing Argument came out of his ninth-place finish in the Preakness without a problem. Jockey Cornelio Velasquez told McLaughlin his horse simply didn't handle the track. McLaughlin said Closing Argument would be pointed to either the Jim Dandy at Saratoga on July 30 or the Haskell at Monmouth Park on Aug. 7.

"He's never needed his racetrack before and he came out of it in good shape," McLaughlin said. "We're trying to walk him 10 days. We might not be able to because he's feeling that good."

Mr. Light to pass on Jaipur

Despite a solid half-mile workout on the turf last Sunday, Mr. Light will not run in Sunday's Grade 2, $100,000 Jaipur Stakes, trainer Angel Penna said.

Penna said Mr. Light, who set a world record for one mile winning an allowance at Gulfstream, wrenched an ankle in a May 9 workout at Belmont and missed a week of training. Last Sunday, Mr. Light worked four furlongs in 46.71 seconds over the Belmont turf, but got tired doing it.

"He's not on the top of his form, let's put it that way," said Penna, who now hopes to have Mr. Light ready for the Poker Handicap on July 3.

Among the horses pointing to the Jaipur, a seven-furlong turf race formerly run as a handicap, are Old Forester, winner of the Canadian Turf Handicap in his last start, and Gulch Approval, second to Artie Schiller in the Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland.