08/08/2002 11:00PM

Lukas: Holiday Runner ready


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - When it comes to juvenile stakes at Saratoga, nobody does it better than Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

In 16 of the last 18 Saratoga meets, Lukas has won at least one of the six juvenile stakes.

All told, he has won 29 of Saratoga's juvenile stakes, including five Adirondacks.

Monday, Lukas sends out the undefeated Holiday Runner in the $150,000 Adirondack. Lukas won four consecutive Adirondacks from 1985-88 and won it again in 1997 with Salty Perfume.

Holiday Runner, a daughter of Meadowlake, is 3 for 3, including a victory against the colts in the Three Chimneys Juvenile Stakes on Derby Day at Churchill Downs. In her most recent start, Holiday Runner dueled through fast fractions with La Violette and then barely held off the late-running Miss Mary Apples to win the Fashion Stakes by a head.

"That was a blistering pace," Lukas said. "It was to her credit that she was still around at the end. I think she's a little more versatile than that."

Holiday Runner got sick following the Fashion and missed races like the Debutante at Churchill and the Schuylerville here. Since arriving in Saratoga, Holiday Runner shows a trio of five-furlong workouts over the Oklahoma training track.

"She's really doing well now," Lukas said.

Holiday Runner should face a stern test from Awesome Humor, the winner of the Grade 3 Debutante, who has since been purchased by WinStar Farm and turned over to Elliott Walden. Others expected to run include Crimson and Roses, Ella Bella, Just Call Me Angel, Stellar, and possibly Make Out.

E Dubai to miss race

E Dubai, the front-running winner of the Suburban Handicap, is nursing a bruised foot that will most likely force him to miss next Saturday's $300,000 Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap.

"It's still in its early stages," said Tom Albertrani, the Belmont Park-based assistant for Godolphin Racing Inc., which owns E Dubai. "I don't know how long it's going to be until it gets better. With the race only eight days away, right now it's questionable. If he's not better in the next two days where I could at least work him once before the race then it's highly unlikely."

If E Dubai does miss the Saratoga Breeders' Cup, he would most likely return in the Woodward on Sept. 7 at Belmont Park. E Dubai's stablemate Street Cry, the beaten favorite in the Whitney Handicap, will also be nominated to the Woodward, but will most likely wait for the Jockey Club Gold Cup on Sept. 28.

In other Godolphin news, Coaching Club American Oaks winner Jilbab worked five furlongs in 1:01.85 Friday at Belmont Park in preparation for next Saturday's Alabama Stakes. Albertrani said Jilbab would most likely work at Belmont on Wednesday before shipping to Saratoga on Thursday.

Options for Evening Attire

Evening Attire is all dressed up with several places to go. Trainer Pat Kelly just has to decide whether he wants to stay home for next Saturday's Saratoga Breeders' Cup or ship to Monmouth Park for next Sunday's $350,000 Iselin Handicap.

Following a five-furlong workout in 1:02.97 by Evening Attire on Friday at Saratoga, Kelly seemed to be leaning toward staying home, but would not commit.

"We're in there, we're nominated, we're heading that way if it works out, and if he's ready we'll give it a shot," Kelly said of the Saratoga Cup. "If not, we'll find something else. I'm going to run when we're ready to go."

Kelly said the only thing he knows for sure is that Evening Attire's next race will be around two turns.

"One turn is an advantage to speed horses," Kelly said. "That's not our style. Normally, we're a closer."

Evening Attire, a 4-year-old gelded son of Black Tie Affair, won three Grade 3 stakes around two turns last fall and winter at Aqueduct, including a one-length victory over Street Cry in the Discovery Handicap at Aqueduct.

Toner practices patience

Trainer Jimmy Toner said he was not even tempted to wheel Blazing Fury back in Saturday's Sword Dancer Invitational following an allowance win here on July 27. Toner said it was his impatience earlier in the year that resulted in a last-place finish by Blazing Fury in the United Nations Handicap at Monmouth. Toner's goal is to enter the fall with a fresh horse, and he hopes to end up back in the Breeders' Cup Turf, in which Blazing Fury finished fourth last year.

On Friday, Blazing Fury worked an easy half-mile in 51 seconds on the Saratoga training turf course, as he points toward the Man o' War on Sept. 7.

"After Monmouth Park all bets were off the table," Toner said. "I got impatient with him; I tried to force him into the game. I decided to stop and start over, get that race into him and see that kick. The last time he won was at Saratoga at a mile and three-sixteenths, so we decided to go back to square one. He kicked well, finished good, and he won the right way. I feel like I'm back in the game with him."

Ready or not, Roaring Fever wins

Roaring Fever, a half-brother to stakes winners Stormin Fever and Raging Fever, won his debut on Friday in a performance that surprised his trainer, Mark Hennig.

Roaring Fever turned back several challenges on the front end while winning by 2 1/4 lengths. He covered 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:05.89, and returned $3.80 as the 4-5 favorite.

Hennig said that Roaring Fever is more laid back than his siblings, and felt that a race would do him more good than continuous training. He even told owner Edward Evans to be prepared for the horse to lose on Friday.

"He didn't strike me as the kind of horse that was precocious enough to win today," Hennig said. "He was a horse that could make some mistakes. Obviously we're tickled. Now that he knows what it's all about, I'm anxious to get back to training him."

Hennig said he did not know where Roaring Fever would run next.

Nafzger faces reality

Trainer Carl Nafzger was hoping the Whitney Handicap last Saturday would prove a turning point for Unshaded. But after the 5-year-old gelding beat just one horse, Nafzger believes the Whitney has become a reality check.

"He answered the question we wanted to know going in: Does he want to run against the bears? He doesn't," Nafzger said Thursday morning. "The way the race shaped up was totally wrong for him, but he's not good enough."

Unshaded had his greatest moment here two years ago, when he won the Travers Stakes. But he has lost his last seven starts.

"He's like a player that's still got it in him, but he's lost a step," Nafzger said. "We can't run him in those types of races if he's lost a step."

Unshaded has won more than $1.2 million for owner Jim Tafel. Nafzger said he would search for easier spots, but would never run Unshaded in a claiming race.

"We'll look at sprinting him," Nafzger said. "Try and find some easier company, maybe an allowance race. I can say this - he will never run for a tag. I don't like it when a horse wins $1 million, then gets dropped in for a tag for $15,000 or $20,000. This horse has been really good to Mr. Tafel. Mr. Tafel said that when Unshaded is retired, he'll be an event horse."

* Visiting Saratoga this week is Dr. Wayne Gertmenian, the president of the Jockeys' Guild. He and Darrell Haire, the Guild's western regional representative, were scheduled to visit Arlington Park, Canterbury Park, and Great Lakes Downs in the next week. "The jockeys at the smaller tracks are just beginning to realize that we are sincere when we say we are going to meet all of them," Gertmenian said.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman