08/22/2005 12:00AM

No scary Iselin opponent for Presidentialaffair in '05


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Presidentialaffair ran into a monster in last year's Grade 3, $250,000 Philip H. Iselin Breeders' Cup Handicap at Monmouth Park.

With the retirement of the monster, Ghostzapper, Sunday's renewal of the Iselin won't be nearly as scary.

The 2004 Iselin was a pivotal race for Ghostzapper as he posted his first two-turn victory. Over a sloppy track on a dismal rain-soaked afternoon, Ghostzapper cruised to a 10 3/4-length win over Presidentialaffair. It was another 21 1/4 lengths back to Zoffinger in third.

"He ran a decent race," said Marty Ciresa, Presidentialaffair's trainer. "I really expected more from him. Considering how good Ghostzapper wound up being, it was a good race."

Ghostzapper used the Iselin as a springboard to Grade 1 victories in the Woodward Stakes at Belmont Park and the Breeders' Cup Classic at Lone Star Park, which earned him the Eclipse Award as Horse of the Year.

Presidentialaffair didn't fare too badly, either.

He closed out his season with a victory in the Maryland Millions Classic at Pimlico, and started his 2005 campaign with a win in Pimlico's Jim McKay Breeders' Cup Handicap and a third-place finish after setting the pace in the Grade 1 Pimlico Special.

He faded badly last time out, though, in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 18.

"He was dull in Kentucky," said Ciresa. "He was real quiet. He didn't want to go into the gate. He just wasn't himself."

Presidentialaffair finished last in the eight-horse Stephen Foster field. Ciresa gave him a rest to prepare for the Iselin.

"He's doing great," Ciresa said. "We gave him some time, and he seems to be doing really well."

Hotstufanthensome to stay on turf

After considering switching Hotstufanthensome from the turf to the main track for the Iselin, trainer Norman Pointer says he will keep the 5-year-old on the grass. He has not run on the main track since winning his maiden at Gulfstream Park in the spring of 2004.

The runner-up in Monmouth's Grade 3 Oceanport Stakes on Haskell Day, Hotstufanthensome will head to Saratoga for Saturday's Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap on the Travers Day undercard.

"If I thought for sure he could run on the dirt, I would do it, because the race is going to come up soft," Pointer said of the Iselin. "My horse is good right now, so it's no time to be experimenting."

A race at last for Carrots Only

The fourth time could be the charm for Carrots Only in the $44,000 allowance feature on Wednesday.

Trainer John Mazza entered Carrots Only, a 4-year-old gelding, three other times for this third-level allowance spot. All three times, the race didn't fill.

"I kept putting him in and the races didn't go," Mazza said. "It gets a little frustrating. There don't seem to be too many horses around that fit this."

Wednesday's six-furlong race attracted seven runners.

Carrots Only last ran in the Colts Neck Handicap for New Jersey-breds on July 17, where he finished fifth in the slop.

"He just didn't get untracked," Mazza said. "He got into a little trouble in the race. He never got himself together. It was very hot that day, and I think that got to him a little bit, and he might not have liked the track. He's a little fussy."

Carrots Only's previous effort, on a dry surface, was a solid allowance score.

Carrots Only is in the best form of his career. He earned Beyer Speed Figures of 88 and 89 in his last two races, making him very competitive in this field.

Mazza kept the gelding sharp with a pair of deliberately slow workouts. He went four furlongs in 50 seconds on Aug. 14 followed by a three-furlong breeze in 37.20 on Sunday.

"He tries to go too fast when he works," Mazza said. "He's full of run. I told the rider to take a hold and don't even let him know he's going to breeze. He went nice and easy. He's a tough horse to train. He always wants to get out there and run."

With a race finally at hand, Mazza feels confident that the wait was worthwhile.

"He's doing terrific," Mazza said. "He's doing great. Barring any trouble, he should be real close at the end."