07/28/2002 11:00PM

Migliore opts for Iron Deputy


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Jockey Richard Migliore is prepared to give up the mount on Ohio Derby winner and Preakness runner-up Magic Weisner in Sunday's $1 million Haskell Invitational to ride Iron Deputy in the $500,000 Jim Dandy at Saratoga on the same day.

The only way Migliore would ride Magic Weisner on Sunday is if something happened to Iron Deputy this week. Nancy Alberts, the owner and trainer of Magic Weisner, told Migliore that she would keep the mount open until Thursday, the day of entry for the Haskell. If Migliore does not ride Magic Weisner, Mike Luzzi will be named.

While Migliore said he has an enormous amount of respect for Magic Weisner, he has ridden Iron Deputy to three victories in four starts and has worked with trainer Jimmy Jerkens in bringing the horse back from a number of infirmities. Iron Deputy, a son of Silver Deputy, has not raced since winning the Count Fleet Stakes on Jan. 5.

"I had a commitment with him all along, I've been working him right along, I'm the only guy that's ever ridden him, it doesn't seem like it would be right to jump ship on him now,'' Migliore said. "I love Magic Weisner. I wish there was some way I could ride both of them. They're both extremely talented 3-year-olds in a year where a lot of horses have fallen by the wayside. You'd love to be able to have both of them, unfortunately it's the same day. If they're both well and they're both going to run on the same day, it looks like I'm going to stay here.''

Migliore also expressed gratitude to Alberts for keeping the mount open on Magic Weisner in case something does go amiss with Iron Deputy.

Iron Deputy suffered a hairline fracture of a cannon bone when he won the Count Fleet over Aqueduct's inner track in January. No surgery was required, but it took ample time to heal.

Jerkens had Iron Deputy entered in the Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico on Preakness Day, but scratched him the morning of the race when the horse developed a bruised foot.

"One of the ironies of life is I was going to Pimlico on Preakness Day to ride Iron Deputy in the Sir Barton Stakes and that's the only reason I picked up Magic Weisner,'' Migliore said. "Iron Deputy is an extremely talented racehorse. Now, he just needs to get there and have the opportunity to prove it.''

Migliore has put Iron Deputy through three one-mile workouts since July 9. Most recently, Iron Deputy went a mile in 1:39.42 last Friday at Saratoga.

With War Emblem back in the Haskell, the Jim Dandy field began to firm up over the weekend.

After winning a pair of stakes on Saturday, trainer Bobby Frankel said he would keep Belmont Stakes runner-up Medaglia d'Oro in New York to run in the Jim Dandy. Jerry Bailey will ride.

Others considered definite for the Jim Dandy are Iron Deputy, Quest, Nothing Flat, and Stephentown. Those likely to run include Easyfromthegitgo, Essence of Dubai, and Gold Dollar. Possible starters include Gygistar and Fisher Pond.

Monday, Easyfromthegitgo worked five furlongs in 1:01.14 at Saratoga. Trainer Steven Asmussen said he was pleased with the move and that his horse would definitely run this weekend in either the Jim Dandy or Haskell.

Sunday, Dwyer Stakes winner Gygistar worked five furlongs in 58.65 seconds, the fastest work at the distance and scoped clean afterward. Gygistar developed a fever after the Dwyer and missed a little bit of time. Trainer Mark Hennig said he would evaluate how the colt is doing before committing to a race.