02/16/2005 1:00AM

Maiden shipper good fit for 'Cappy'

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The field for Saturday's $75,000 Fred "Cappy'' Capossela Stakes was in such flux as of Wednesday that a maiden could be one of the favorites for the six-furlong race for 3-year-olds.

The connections of would-be contenders Benjamin Baby and Maddy's Lion seem more inclined to wait for next month's $150,000 Gotham Stakes. Two of the other horses nominated to the Capossela are entered in an entry-level allowance race here on Friday.

Thus, the maiden Attila's Storm may have found a nice spot to make his New York debut for his new connections. Attila's Storm, who went 0 for 2 racing in Southern California, was purchased privately last month by a partnership that includes former New York Racing Association chairman Barry Schwartz, Ed Wachtel, and Joe Sweedler. John DeStefano is the trainer.

While racing in Southern California for Ron McAnally, Attila's Storm finished third on Dec. 26 behind the subsequent multiple stakes winner Going Wild. Three weeks later, Attila's Storm finished second in another maiden race, but was disqualified and placed sixth.

"They told me a horse outside of him came in on him and crowded him,'' DeStefano said. "Everybody I talked to said it wasn't his fault.''

Attila's Storm boasts Beyer Speed Figures of 98 and 97, which tower over the figures earned by any of the Capossela nominees.

Attila's Storm certainly hasn't busted any stopwatches in the morning. On Feb. 4, he worked five furlongs in 1:02.76 at Belmont. On Feb. 12, he worked five furlongs in 1:03.77 at Aqueduct, where DeStefano is now based. Richard Migliore worked Attila's Storm on Feb. 4.

"Migliore worked him one morning and said 'I don't think he'll ever work fast, but he'll show up for you in the afternoon,' '' DeStefano said. "I said, well, I've had too many that showed up in the morning that didn't show up in the afternoon.''

Migliore would ride Attila's Storm provided Benjamin Baby skips the race. Benjamin Baby comes off a 7 1/2-length entry-level allowance win on Feb. 4.

Meanwhile, trainer John Pregman said Wednesday that he is leaning toward holding Jimmy Winkfield Stakes winner Maddy's Lion out of the Capossela for the Gotham.

Pregman is eager to stretch out Maddy's Lion in distance, but didn't want to run him in last weekend's Whirlaway because the colt had raced twice in a 12-day period in January.

Distinctive Trick and Pavo are the only other confirmed runners for the Capossela. Possible starters include Hottothetouch, Smokin Forest, Summerland, and Timely Impulse.

Summerland heads tough feature

Summerland was a neck short of going 3 for 3 sprinting last year. He would be the one to beat should he run in Friday's entry-level allowance feature at six furlongs.

Summerland hasn't run since finishing a well-beaten third behind Naughty New Yorker and Sort It Out in the Damon Runyon Stakes last Dec. 12. Though that race was at 1 1/16 miles, trainer Rick Violette said he believes the dull effort may have been related more to running back on two weeks' rest than the distance.

"He didn't have a lot of fight in him that day, and before he was a very game horse,'' Violette said.

Violette said he would cross-enter Summerland in the Capossela and pick the spot he feels is best.

If he runs in the allowance race, Summerland may have to deal with several other speed types. That could set things up for Byanosejoe, who cuts back from one mile to six furlongs, a distance at which he won a maiden race on Dec. 4. Golder Than Gold is another who would prefer a hot pace.

Galloping Grocer targets Fountain

Galloping Grocer, the beaten favorite in last weekend's Whirlaway, returned to the track on Wednesday, galloping slightly more than a mile on the Belmont training track. Trainer Dominick Schettino confirmed Galloping Grocer would make his next start in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream on March 5.

Schettino said he and owner Bob Rosenthal are looking for a jockey to ride Galloping Grocer in the Fountain of Youth. Aaron Gryder rode him in the Whirlaway.

Gryder seeks King's Cup repeat

Gryder on Wednesday night left for Saudi Arabia, where on Friday he will ride King's Boy in the King's Cup. Gryder won this race last year with the same horse.

Jerry Barton, a former assistant to trainer D. Wayne Lukas, trains King's Boy.

"I've had a good relationship with Jerry Barton,'' Gryder said. "I was friendly with him when he was training here and we had quite a bit of success together. The horse I rode was fourth in the [Dubai] World Cup last year."

The King's Cup is expected to include several horses formerly based in the U.S,. including Dynever, Kissin Saint, and Tamburello. Gryder said other U.S. riders will be in Saudi Arabia, including Eibar Coa, Jose Santos, Alex Solis, Jose Valdivia, and David Flores. Gryder said he would be back to ride at Aqueduct on Saturday.

* Rafael Bejarano returned from a one-week's suspension to ride three winners on Wednesday's card. When he booted home Little Miss Amanda ($8.20) in the finale, it made for two happy handicappers, who each collected $87,979 in the pick six. The winning tickets - purchased at Laurel Park and Capital Off-Track Betting in upstate New York - tabbed longshots Fighting Roy Kelly ($19) and Taking the Redeye ($15.40) There was a carryover of $43,205 entering the card.

* Megascape, the multiple-stakes-winning filly who figures a short price in Monday's $75,000 Dearly Precious, worked four furlongs in 47.37 seconds Wednesday over Belmont's training track. It was the fastest of 53 moves at the distance.