09/15/2005 11:00PM

New York-based Winning Minister may ship south


MIAMI - The local contingent of 2-year-olds for next Saturday's $150,000 Foolish Pleasure Breeders' Cup Stakes at Calder is a good one, but the field could become even stronger if trainer Robert Barbara decides to send Winning Minister down from New York.

Winning Minister is coming off a fifth-place finish behind division leaders First Samurai and Henny Hughes in the Grade 1 Hopeful. A son of Deputy Minister, Winning Minister won his maiden two weeks earlier by three-quarters of a length going six furlongs at Saratoga.

"I thought the rider took too much of a hold of his horse during the early part of the Hopeful and it just took him out of his game," Barbara said from Belmont Park on Friday. "That's really not the way he wants to run. He likes to show speed away from there. I think he's a super colt and I had no problem putting him in the Hopeful against those good horses, but he just didn't get a chance to run his best race."

The mile and 70-yard Foolish Pleasure would be Winning Minister's first start around two turns, but Barbara is not worried about the added distance.

"I think he definitely wants two turns, and by stretching out he will be able to show his best speed," said Barbara.

Barbara planned to work Winning Minister on Saturday at Belmont and then discuss the possibility of flying him to south Florida with Sabine Stable owner Joseph Greeley over the weekend.

Among the leading locally based contenders for the Foolish Pleasure are Blazing Rate, Forest Danz, R Loyal Man, and Rehoboth.

R Loyal Man had his final major prep for the race on Friday, working five furlongs from the gate in a solid 1:01.60. He's a Lumberjack, who is also nominated for the Foolish Pleasure, worked in the same set with R Loyal Man, covering six furlongs in 1:15.40. Both horses are trained by Tim Ritvo.

"I thought he went great," Ritvo said after R Loyal Man's work. "He showed me today he's ready to run next week."

R Loyal Man has not started since finishing second in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor Stakes at Churchill Downs on July 10. He was entered and scratched from the Seacliff Stakes here on Labor Day when Ritvo felt the horse was just not quite up to a two-turn race.

* B. B. Best worked four furlongs in 48.20 seconds here early Friday morning. A Grade 1 stakes-placed 3-year-old, B.B. Best was scheduled to make his return to action on Aug. 21 in the American Dreamer Stakes but was scratched by trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. after spiking a temperature 72 hours prior to the race.