11/23/2006 12:00AM

'Nobiz' running with eye on Derby


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – No one would have thought twice if Barclay Tagg had elected to run Nobiz Like Shobiz in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. There were certainly less-accomplished horses in that field than a Champagne runner-up.

But Tagg was more interested in the first Saturday in May than he was in the first Saturday in November and decided to skip the Juvenile to point for Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct, where Nobiz Like Shobiz will be heavily favored against seven rivals. A victory in the Remsen would send Nobiz Like Shobiz to south Florida for the winter as a major contender for next spring’s Kentucky Derby.

Nobiz Like Shobiz, a son of Albert the Great, won his debut by 10 3/4 lengths on Sept. 9, running a mile in 1:35.26 and earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 96. In his second start, the Champagne, Nobiz Like Shobiz was pinched back at the break and then tugged jockey Cornelio Velasquez into contention perhaps earlier than Velasquez preferred.

Nobiz Like Shobiz was certainly in position to win coming into the stretch, but had to work hard to get past pacesetter Pegasus Wind and couldn’t fight off the more seasoned Scat Daddy, who beat Nobiz Like Shobiz by three-quarters of a length.

“He was relatively green, and the horse that beat him had some experience,” Tagg said. “I just thought since he didn’t have the smoothest of trips, rushing him back in the Breeders’ Cup wasn’t my way of doing things.”

In the Remsen, Nobiz Like Shobiz will be attempting two turns and 1 1/8 miles for the first time.

“I think he’ll relish it,” Tagg said. “I ran him a mile first time out because I didn’t think he was a sprinter.”

Nobiz Like Shobiz will break from post 2 under Velasquez.

Zanjero, a son of Cherokee Run, is 2 for 2 around two turns. Most recently, he beat impressive maiden winner First Defence in a first-level allowance race at Churchill Downs, though his final time of 1:46.13 for 1 1/16 miles was slow.

Zanjero, trained by Scott Blasi, breaks from post 7 under Garrett Gomez.

Sightseeing, trained by Shug McGaughey, finished well but was no match for Day Pass when second in the Grade 2 Nashua. Before that, Sightseeing won a maiden race by a nose over Timber Reserve, who came back to win a maiden race at Churchill and will run in the Remsen.

Maiden winners Marina Market and Summer Doldrums are bred to handle nine furlongs and are upset candidates.