06/09/2004 11:00PM

Lucifer's Stone tries to keep rolling


ELMONT, N.Y. - Lucifer's Stone, undefeated in three starts this year, including two stakes, will try to win her first New York stakes in Sunday's $100,000 Sands Point on the turf at Belmont Park.

Lucifer's Stone quickly came to hand this year for trainer Linda Rice and owners Team Solaris Stable. A 3-year-old filly by South African champion Horse Chestnut, Lucifer's Stone began the year by winning a first-level allowance race on Jan. 14 at Gulfstream Park. Six weeks later at Gulfstream, she earned her first stakes win in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride. In her last start, on April 14 at Keeneland, Lucifer's Stone won the Appalachian Stakes by a head after her rider, Jose Santos, lost his whip near the wire.

At Belmont last October, Lucifer's Stone won a maiden race at 1 1/8 miles, the distance of Sunday's Grade 3 Sands Point. Sixteen days later, she finished a close third in the Miss Grillo Stakes behind Please Take Me Out, an expected starter in the Sands Point.

"Last fall, in her third and fourth starts, she really started to develop," Rice said. "She's had about six weeks between her races all year. Maybe this was more time than we needed, but we didn't have a spot to run."

If Lucifer's Stone runs "a big race" in the Sands Point, Rice said, she would like to bring the filly to California for the Grade 1 American Oaks at Hollywood Park on July 4.

Santos will ride Lucifer's Stone in the Sands Point. Other probable starters include Gracefully and Miss Coronado from trainer Bobby Frankel's barn, as well as Delta Sensation, Fortunate Damsel, Mambo Slew, and Vous. Western Ransom was considered possible but was entered in Saturday's Grade 3 Regret Stakes at Churchill Downs.

Miss Coronado worked a half-mile in 48.22 seconds over Belmont's main track on Thursday.

Arnold keeping an eye on Brooklyn

Trainer Rusty Arnold will be paying close attention to Saturday's $250,000 Brooklyn Handicap. Arnold trains a 2-year-old who is a half-sibling to Brooklyn contender Newfoundland. Arnold also trained Newfoundland's dam, Clear Mandate, a multiple Grade 1 winner.

Newfoundland, a 4-year-old bred by G. Watts Humphrey, is the second foal out of Clear Mandate, a daughter of Deputy Minister. As is Humphrey's custom, he offers the colts produced by Clear Mandate for sale and keeps the fillies to race. Demi O'Byrne, on behalf of Coolmore Stud, purchased Newfoundland, a son of Storm Cat, for $3.3 million as a yearling at Keeneland. Following his 2-year-old campaign in Europe, he was privately purchased by his current owner, Oussama Aboughazale, who races under Sumaya Us Stable, and given to Todd Pletcher to train.

Humphrey wound up keeping Clear Mandate's fourth foal, League of Nations, because the A.P. Indy colt failed to reach his $975,000 reserve at last year's Keeneland September sale.

Arnold said he's delighted to have League of Nations in his Belmont barn.

"He's a gorgeous animal; a little too big, especially since the family is on the small side," Arnold said. "He should be ready to run by the end of Saratoga or back here in the fall, barring no problems. He's only had a couple easy two-furlong breezes."

Arnold said what impressed him most about Clear Mandate, a winner of $1,085,588, was that she won three Grade 1's at varying distances. She won the races at 4 and 5 in 1996 and 1997.

"She was a good racehorse, and what I liked was she won the Shuvee at a mile, the Spinster at a mile and an eighth, and the [John A. Morris] at a mile and a quarter," he said. "She has been a terrific broodmare so far."

Clear Mandate also has an A.P. Indy yearling filly, and a Fusaichi Pegasus filly was born this year. Clear Mandate was bred back to Mineshaft, the 2003 Horse of the Year.

Pletcher puzzled by Value Plus's loss

Todd Pletcher said he can't explain Value Plus's loss as the 8-5 favorite in last Saturday's $200,000 Riva Ridge Breeders' Cup. Value Plus finished sixth, beaten 12 1/2 lengths by the winner, Fire Slam.

The Riva Ridge was Value Plus's second consecutive loss as the favorite. He finished sixth as the choice in the 1 1/8-mile Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 10.

Pletcher said he didn't know where Value Plus would run next.

Cherish Destiny ships in for Funistrada

Pletcher will saddle an uncoupled entry, Highgate Park and Capeside Lady, in Saturday's $60,000 Funistrada Stakes, which drew seven runners.

One of the main contenders in the six-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies is the speedy Cherish Destiny, who ships in from California for trainer Doug O'Neill.

Feline Story, a graded stakes winner, just missed in her last start at 6 1/2 furlongs when finishing second to Beautiful America.

After finishing second to Feline Story in the Legal Light Stakes at Delaware Park in April, She's a Mugs returned to win a seven-furlong race for Nick Zito, who saddled the winner of the Belmont Stakes, Birdstone.

* Ghostzapper, preparing for the Grade 2 Tom Fool on July 4, worked six furlongs in 1:11.61 on Thursday. Jockey Javier Castellano was aboard Ghostzapper, who worked in company for five-eighths with stablemate Nothing to Lose.