03/15/2004 12:00AM

Migliore relishes biggest win of his career


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Veteran New York rider Richard Migliore has won his share of important stakes, but none as big as Saturday's Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park aboard Friends Lake.

The Grade 1 Florida Derby was Migliore's first win in a $1 million race, and it came the day before his 40th birthday.

Migliore celebrated his birthday by winning Sunday's Grade 3 Next Move Handicap at Aqueduct aboard the favorite, Smok'n Frolic.

"I feel fantastic," Migliore said Monday. "I've had some other big weekends when I won [multiple] stakes, but I've never won a $1 million race before. I've won a lot of prestigious races and had races get their purse bumped up the next year. Winning the Florida Derby was just tremendous for everyone involved."

John Kimmel, who trains Friends Lakes, has had Migliore aboard for several stakes wins, including on Pompeii, Hidden Lake, Catinca, and Crafty Friend. Chester and Mary Broman bred and own Friends Lake, a New York-bred. Kimmel is leaning toward training Friends Lake up to the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 1.

Migliore said he was worried after Friends Lake finished a well-beaten third in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream on Jan. 17. In the paddock before the Holy Bull, Friends Lake acted up badly. Although Friends Lake was reluctant to load into the starting gate for the Florida Derby, Migliore said the colt was far more relaxed.

"I didn't like his race in the Holy Bull; he was difficult about everything," Migliore said. "He was just pulling as hard as he could and ran in panic for as far as he could. John told me he worked with him and it showed. He wasn't frantic and [was] more like the horse I won a stakes with as a 2-year-old. He was very settled and happy. I have to give a lot of credit to John."

Migliore is scheduled to ride Redskin Warrior or Song of the Sword, or perhaps both, this weekend for owner Ernie Paragallo and trainer Jennifer Pedersen. As of Monday, it looked like Redskin Warrior was going to run in the $200,000 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct on Saturday. Song of the Sword is likely for Saturday's $500,000 Lane's End Stakes at Turfway Park. Another possibility for Redskin Warrior is the $100,000 Rushaway Stakes on the Lane's End undercard. On Tuesday, both horses were scheduled to work at Aqueduct with Migliore aboard.

Migliore has ridden in three Kentucky Derbies, with his best finish a fifth aboard the Kimmel-trained Wheelaway in 2000. Migliore is ecstatic to have the opportunity to ride three Derby candidates.

"It's less than seven weeks to the Derby, and I'm definitely aboard a contender, even if I can't pinpoint which one yet," Migliore said. "Friends Lake has stamped himself as a major player, and [Redskin Warrior and Song of the Sword] have the chance to do the same this weekend."

Pomeroy set for return in Gotham

After trainer Patrick Biancone worked Pomeroy five furlongs in company Monday at Santa Anita, he declared Pomeroy a definite starter for the Grade 3 Gotham.

Pomeroy, who worked in 1:00.80, is scheduled to arrive in New York on Wednesday afternoon. Accompanying Pomeroy on the plane will be his stablemate Whoopi Cat, who will run in Saturday's $100,000 Cicada Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Mike Smith will ride both of Biancone's horses.

Pomeroy hasn't run since September, when he finished first in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway. He was disqualified for interference and placed third. Whoopi Cat, who won last year's Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga, is unplaced in two stakes starts this year.

Whoopi Cat also worked five furlongs in company Monday at Santa Anita, and covered the distance in 1:02.20.

The other horses probable for the one-mile Gotham are Deputy Storm, Eddington, Quick Action, Saratoga County, and War's Prospect.

On Sunday at Belmont Park, Quick Action worked a half-mile in 47.63 seconds.

Well Fancied's next still uncertain

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. is pumped up over Well Fancied's win in Saturday's Grade 3 Toboggan Handicap - Well Fancied's fifth stakes win since September - but he is still taking a cautious approach in deciding Well Fancied's next start.

Three of Well Fancied's most recent stakes wins have come at seven furlongs, including the Toboggan and the Grade 2 General George at Laurel Park in February. A logical race for Well Fancied's next start would be the seven-furlong Carter at Aqueduct on April 10. Dutrow, however, isn't anxious to take on what is shaping up to be a stellar group. The field for the Carter is expected to include Congaree, who won the race last year, Ghostzapper, Strong Hope, and Badge of Silver.

"The only way I would run in the Carter was if I would be the favorite, and I don't imagine that happening," Dutrow said.

Dutrow mentioned the $100,000 Westchester Handicap on opening day of Belmont's spring meet, May 5, as a possible target. Last year, Well Fancied won four consecutive races at Belmont, including three stakes.

Account for Me favored in feature

A second-level allowance race with nine entered is the feature Wednesday. A winter storm was expected to bring rain and snow to the area Tuesday, so the track could still be wet Wednesday.

Account for Me has good wet-track form and is coming off two sharp races. On Feb. 4, Account for Me ran second in the mud and was claimed for $35,000 by Scott Lake. Lake ran Account for Me back at this level Feb. 28, and Account for Me finished second.

Apprentice Pablo Fragoso, who has six wins at the spring meet, rides Account for Me in the 1 1/8-mile race.