05/06/2002 11:00PM

Milwaukee Brew out of LeRoy


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Milwaukee Brew, who would have been favored Sunday in the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap, will skip that race and start on June 15 in the Grade 2 Californian.

"[Owner Frank Stronach] wants to save him for the Breeders' Cup, he doesn't want to run him too much," trainer Bobby Frankel said.

Milwaukee Brew has raced twice this year, most recently on March 2 when he won the Santa Anita Handicap.

None of the three Mervyn LeRoy highweights is running in the 1 1/16-mile race for older horses. The absence of Milwaukee Brew (122), Redattore (119), and Grey Memo (118) means that San Bernardino Handicap winner Bosque Redondo (117) is likely to start favored in the $150,000 race. Expected starters also include Sky Jack (117), Freedom Crest (116), Reba's Gold (115), Bay Head King (113), and Agol Lack (112).

Stars align in Frankel's barn

As usual, Frankel enters the spring and summer loaded with runners. His colt Medaglia d'Oro may be favored May 18 in the Preakness, and his 4-year-old Aldebaran will be well backed May 27 in the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont. That same day at Hollywood Park, Starine returns in the Gamely, while Decarchy and Thady Quill run in the Shoemaker Mile. You shortens to a mile June 7 in the Acorn at Belmont; and Beat Hollow will be favored June 8 in the Grade 1 Manhattan, also at Belmont.

Those are just the familiar names currently in training for Frankel. He said Mizzen Mast, Lido Palace, and Labamta Babe will ship to New York for late-summer comebacks, while a setback to Skimming (filling) was only minor and is not expected to jeopardize his goal of winning the Pacific Classic at Del Mar for the third straight year.

Already, Frankel is looking ahead to his 2003 Kentucky Derby crop that is now entering training.

"I'll have five 2-year-olds [in New York]," Frankel said. "One's a Seattle Slew, who is a half-brother to Aptitude. One's by Unbridled, a half to Chester House. Are they going to be [heavily raced] 2-year-olds? No. If I can run them once before the end of the year, fine."

The paradigm for a Derby winner has shifted to more lightly raced 3-year-olds, a model Frankel prefers.

"You don't need to run a lot of times to get there," he said. "It used to be that people ran their horses a lot because they thought they needed to run a lot. I could easily have won the Derby the other day [with Medaglia d'Oro, making his fifth start.]"

Bella Bellucci eyes Acorn

While trainer Neil Drysdale's top 3-year-olds - the filly Bella Bellucci and colt Sunday Break - are stabled at Belmont Park, Drysdale returned from the road early this week to supervise operations from Hollywood. He said Bella Bellucci would point for the Grade 1 Acorn on June 7 at Belmont, after scratching from the Kentucky Oaks with a poor blood count.

"She never was sick," Drysdale said. "She's well now; I'm sure she'll be fine."

Drysdale said Sunday Break's training "has been uninterrupted," despite his exclusion from the Kentucky Derby field because of an earnings deficiency in graded stakes. Sunday Break is pointing for the Preakness. Some believe Drysdale's best 3-year-old is Flying Dash, who will race Saturday at Hawthorne in the $250,000 Hawthorne Derby. Victor Espinoza is expected to ride Flying Dash, who won the Transylvania Stakes on April 5 at Keeneland. Drysdale's Irish Prize is pointing for the Shoemaker Mile on May 27.

Grey Memo in Met Mile next

Grey Memo's owner, Pat Thompson, has talked trainer Warren Stute into taking the gelding on the road again. Winner of a $1 million one-turn mile in Dubai last out, Grey Memo will race next in the Metropolitan Handicap on May 27 at Belmont. "He likes a soft track and he likes a one-turn mile," Stute said. "But it's a tough race, and I'm not big on shipping."

Stute's top sprinter Go Go came out of her fourth-place finish in the B. Thoughtful Stakes in good order, and will run June 7 at Hollywood in the Grade 3 Desert Stormer Handicap. Go Go's comeback was her first race in nine months, at the taxing distance of seven furlongs. Stute said the mare's owners preferred an easier spot.

"I told them Mel [Stute, Warren's brother] won the seven-furlong Triple Bend with Score Quick coming back after 11 months so they said okay. Evidently, I'm not the trainer my brother is," Stute said, laughing.

In addition to veterans Grey Memo and Go Go, Stute has a promising group of 2-year-olds including four owned by B. Wayne Hughes. The quartet includes Baltic Nations, a Seattle Slew filly who is a half-sister to two-time Golden Shahen winner Caller One. Baltic Nations turned in a best-of-the-morning move May 4 when she worked three-eighths in 35.20 seconds. Stute said the 2-year-olds will make their respective debuts late in the meet.

Hofmans picks spots for his runners

Adoration's first graded stake win on Saturday was on grass, but her future could be on the main track. A front-running winner of the Grade 3 Senorita Stakes on Saturday, Adoration's style lends itself to the main track. Trainer David Hofmans agrees. "She handles grass well, she's just more efficient on dirt," he said.

The Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks, a Grade 2 dirt race at 1 1/16 miles, is run June 15 and may be the Adoration's next start.

Adoration is owned by John and Jerry Amerman, whose top 3-year-old, Siphonic, will return to training in two weeks. Hofmans speculates Siphonic wrenched an ankle finishing third in the San Felipe on March 17, which knocked him off the Derby trail. "We'll bring him back and get him ready for fall," Hofmans said.

Plans are undecided for Hofmans's top 4-year-old filly Ask Me No Secrets, who scratched from the Hawthorne Handicap with a foot problem. Last year's Blue Grass winner Millennium Wind will be ready for a comeback next month.

Lobo's got two Brazilians to watch

Although Kentucky Oaks upset winner Farda Amiga came out of the race sick and will remain at Churchill Downs until she recovers, trainer Paulo Lobo has more live ammunition at Hollywood Park. Lobo, 33, scored the biggest win of his career Friday in the Oaks, and is looking forward to the North American debuts of two top-class mares from Brazil.

Group 1 winner Vacailacao and Group 3 winner Vierenes are up to five-eighths in their works, and will start later this summer. Lobo also has Grade 2 winner Nikolayev, a horse, on the comeback trail. Lobo said Farda Amiga's high temperature (102) had subsided by Tuesday, but bloodwork showed she was fighting a bug. "She shipped Tuesday and ran Friday, so maybe the stress of the transportation and the race got to her," Lobo said. "When she's 110 percent, she'll come back. I think she has a big future."

Lobo, who has 12 horses in his care, said Farda Amiga would be considered for the $500,000 American Oaks on July 6. According to Lobo, Farda Amiga is eligible for the Breeders' Cup.