02/24/2003 1:00AM

Mandy's Gold impressive in return

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Mandy's Gold snuck quietly into Monday's $46,000 allowance feature, then ran away and hid from four rivals en route to an easy 2 1/2-length victory in her 5-year-old debut.

Mandy's Gold, a graded-stakes-caliber sprinter at 3, showed another dimension during the second half of her 4-year-old campaign last year by winning the 1 1/16-mile Ruffian Handicap and finishing second in the nine-furlong Beldame, both Grade 1 races.

Trainer Mike Gorham is gearing her up to stretch out around two turns earlier this year.

"Everything worked out well today," Gorham said upon leaving the winner's circle. "Now we have to decide if we want to stretch her right out around two turns or give her another sprint."

Gorham said Mandy's Gold had an easy race Monday and he is considering bringing her back in three weeks in the 6 1/2-furlong Hurricane Bertie.

Gorham said another option would be to run her at 1 1/16 miles in the Oaklawn Breeders' Cup on March 15. That would set her up for the Grade 1 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn April 5.

Harlan's Holiday: World Cup or Gulf 'Cap

The $6 million Dubai World Cup on March 29 appears to be the primary target for Donn Handicap winner Harlan's Holiday, but his connections will wait at least a week before finalizing their plans. Should he not go to Dubai, Harlan's Holiday would most likely make his next start in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap the same day.

Speaking in his barn office at the Palm Meadows training center Monday, trainer Todd Pletcher said Harlan's Holiday came out of his 2 1/2-length victory in Saturday's Grade 1 Donn "excellent." Harlan's Holiday was to remain at Gulfstream Park, a surface he prefers to the Palm Meadows track.

Pletcher said a possible war in Iraq - which is near Dubai - is only one factor that would determine whether Harlan's Holiday travels for the World Cup. Pletcher added there are several other racing-related issues that would come into play.

"Is this a race we can finish one-two-three in and are we willing to sacrifice the two or three months that follow that to take a shot at it?" Pletcher said.

Congaree and Medaglia d'Oro are scheduled to run in the Santa Anita Handicap Saturday, and Pletcher said he was interested in whether either of them will run in the World Cup.

"If they both go I don't see a scenario where we're better than third choice, so that's something that weighs into it," Pletcher said.

Pletcher would need to make a final decision on the World Cup by March 15, which is the day horses from North America would ship to Dubai.

Senor Swinger works for Florida Derby

Trainer Mickey Goldfine didn't want to rush his undefeated Kentucky Derby hopeful Senor Swinger to make the Fountain of Youth following a win in his 3-year-old debut. But now Goldfine is beginning to get a bit more serious as he prepares Senor Swinger for the biggest challenge of his career, the $1 million Florida Derby on March 15.

Senor Swinger worked five furlongs in 1:01.80 here Monday. The work was postponed 24 hours due to overnight rains which had left the track sloppy and rock hard the previous morning.

"He went exactly the way I wanted," said Goldfine, who clocked Senor Swinger galloping out six furlongs in 1:14. "I'll ask him to go a little faster next week in his final serious work before the Florida Derby. I'll put Edgar [Prado] up and let him go with company."

Senor Swinger has won his only two starts, including a first-level allowance race here on Jan. 31, in which he dead-heated for the victory with Ten Cents a Shine.

"I have no regrets about holding him out of the Fountain of Youth," Goldfine said. "It would have just been asking too much of him to come back against that kind of competition on only two weeks of rest."

Goldfine said he will likely enter Senor Swinger in both the Florida Derby and the Tampa Bay Derby the following afternoon.

"That gives us a back-up in the case of rain or some other unforeseen problem," Goldfine said.

One of Goldfine's major objectives before he leaves south Florida is to get Senor Swinger some graded stakes earnings. If the Derby field overfills, as it has for the past several years, eligibility is determined by graded earnings, and Senor Swinger has none.

My Boston Gal couldn't breathe

Trainer Carl Nafzger reported that My Boston Gal was suffering from an ulcer on her epiglottis following her fifth-place finish as the favorite in Sunday's Grade 2 Davona Dale Stakes. My Boston Gal entered the Davona Dale perfect in three starts.

"The rider [Calvin Borel] said he was sitting on a lot of horse down the backstretch, and when he asked her to run she had nothing," Nafzger said. "The ulcer was causing her epiglottis to entrap which shut off her air supply. So I'm just going to throw that race out."

Nafzger said he would monitor the situation but thought if My Boston Gal trained well over the next several weeks she could still run in the Grade 2 Bonnie Miss Stakes on March 14.

Funny Cide Louisiana-bound

Funny Cide, who suffered his first career defeat when fifth in the Holy Bull, worked five furlongs in 59.40 seconds Sunday at Palm Meadows and will be pointed to the Louisiana Derby on March 9, trainer Barclay Tagg said.

Tagg and assistant trainer Robin Smullen, who was aboard Funny Cide for the move, said Funny Cide's workout was the best of his career.

"It was all him," Smullen said. "His breathing is the best it's ever been in his career."

Tagg said Funny Cide had been fighting a throat infection, but that it appears to be behind him.

"Physically, we're pretty happy with him right now," Tagg said. "Plus, I like the timing better because I want to run him in the Wood Memorial [April 12] and this gives us four weeks to the Wood."

Tagg said the only way he wouldn't run in the Louisiana Derby was if Funny Cide were to draw an outside post in a big field, as was the case when Funny Cide drew post 13 in the Holy Bull. Funny Cide will ship to Fair Grounds on March 5.

Smok'n Frolic readies for Rampart

Smok'n Frolic, winner of the Sunshine Millions Distaff, breezed four furlongs in 49.40 seconds Monday morning at Palm Meadows in preparation for Saturday's $200,000 Rampart Handicap. The move was the second fastest of 23 works at the distance.

A multiple stakes winner at 2, Smok'n Frolic was a non-factor in the 3-year-old filly division last year after bleeding in the Davona Dale Stakes in February. After two losses on turf and a last-place finish in the Alabama, Smok'n Frolic returned to score an upset victory in the Grade 2 Cotillion Handicap at Philadelphia Park in October.

A foot injury prevented Smok'n Frolic from running in the Top Flight Handicap at Aqueduct in November. Yet, despite not having run in 112 days, Smok'n Frolic shipped cross-country to win the Sunshine Millions Distaff by 2 1/2 lengths at Santa Anita.

"In the Cotillion and [Sunshine Millions] she showed you could settle her off the pace," Pletcher said. "That's one of the reasons she's gotten better, it's just maturity on her part."

Jose Santos will ride Smok'n Frolic, who figures to be second choice in the Rampart behind Allamerican Bertie.

Zito has good weekend

Trainer Nick Zito had a good weekend, sending out American Style to beat a good field of allowance horses on Saturday and Bird Town to dominate the seven-furlong Charon Stakes by more than a dozen lengths the following afternoon.

"Bird Town's a real nice filly and I'd originally thought about running her in the Davona Dale but decided to take the more conservative route," said Zito. "I'm also going to pass on the Bonnie Miss with her and take my time with this filly. I also skipped the Davona Dale with Holiday Lady because I thought she might bounce off her last allowance victory if I brought her back to soon. She'll run next in the Bonnie Miss."

Bird Town is owned by her breeder, Mary Lou Whitney, whose Mt. Vaughan broke down after registering an impressive maiden allowance victory earlier in the meet.

Raging Fever, Summer Colony work

Trainer Mark Hennig had two of his distaff stars out to work on Monday, with Raging Fever breezing a half-mile in 48 seconds and Summer Colony going an easy three-eighths in 36.40. Both fillies have had only a couple of works since returning to training and Hennig has not picked out a target date for either of their 2003 debuts.

Hennig did confirm that Gold Mover will make her next start in defense of her title in the $100,000 Hurricane Bertie Stakes on March 16. Gold Mover beat Celtic Melody and Mandy's Gold to win the 6 1/2-furlong dash last winter.

Hennig has made a change of plans for Gygistar, who in his 2003 debut finished fifth as the 4-5 favorite in the Grade 3 Deputy Minister Handicap on Feb. 9. Originally, Hennig had talked about sending Gygistar to Dubai for the Dubai Golden Shaheen Sprint, but he will now wheel him back in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship on March 8.

"We really need a more positive note to hang our hat on before thinking about going to Dubai after that last effort," Hennig said. "He just wasn't ready to break any track records his first start back."

Hennig was referring to the fact that Native Heir equaled the 6 1/2-furlong track record while winning the Deputy Minister.

- additional reporting by David Grening