02/05/2007 12:00AM

Nobiz Like Shobiz enjoys flexible schedule

Eleanor Gustafson/Horsephotos
Nobiz Like Shobiz, winning the Holy Bull at Gulfstream, could run next in the Fountain of Youth on March 3 or in the Louisiana Derby a week later.

The way the calendar falls, Nobiz Like Shobiz at some point this spring will have five weeks between starts. Whether it is between last Saturday's Holy Bull Stakes and the March 10 Louisiana Derby, or the March 3 Fountain of Youth and the April 7 Wood Memorial, or the March 31 Florida Derby and the May 5 Kentucky Derby will all depend on what path trainer Barclay Tagg decides is the best way to get Nobiz Like Shobiz to the Derby, and when that extra week might come in handy.

"If we need an extra week, we'll take it and go to the Louisiana Derby," Tagg said after Nobiz Like Shobiz scored a stylish victory in his 3-year-old debut in the Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park. "If not, he'll come back in the Fountain of Youth. I've got a week to play with."

That's not all he has to play with. Nobiz Like Shobiz is one of the leading contenders for the Derby, a race Tagg won four years ago with Funny Cide. Funny Cide took the Holy Bull-Louisiana Derby-Wood route to Kentucky, but the Holy Bull was run later in February that year compared with Feb. 3 this year.

Tagg is leaning toward bringing back Nobiz Like Shobiz in the 1 1/8-mile Fountain of Youth, and keeping that extra week in his holster for later this spring. Tagg got the ideal comeback out of Nobiz Like Shobiz in that he won, but, according to Tagg, did not appear to be unduly stressed by the effort.

Nobiz Like Shobiz, owned by Elizabeth Valando, got a Beyer Speed Figure of 98.

"He's a lovely, lovely horse," said Tagg, who does not cavalierly throw out superlatives. "When I first laid eyes on him, I told Mrs. Valando he was the most magnificent horse I'd ever seen."

There were two other stakes for 3-year-olds last weekend, and both got slightly better figures. Earlier on the Gulfstream card, Adore the Gold captured the 6 1/2-furlong Swale Stakes in a driving finish for which he received a Beyer Figure of 102.

And at Santa Anita, the long-striding colt Ravel also received a Beyer of 102 for his victory in the Sham Stakes.

Adore the Gold will go two turns in his next race, according to trainer Mike Gorham, who said he had yet to decide where or when that would be.

"I wanted to get this over with and see where we're at," said Gorham, who said he would decide on a race for Adore the Gold in two weeks. Depending on how much time Gorham wants to give Adore the Gold between starts, the Fountain of Youth, Louisiana Derby, or a March 17 stakes such as the Rebel or Tampa Bay Derby are the logical possibilities.

Ravel was making only the third start of his career in the Sham, but he closed powerfully and acted like he would only get better with distance. Being as he seems to run best with plenty of time between starts, the Santa Anita Derby on April 7 looms as his most likely next start.

Over the weekend, Triple Crown Productions announced that Nobiz Like Shobiz and Street Sense - the winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and the champion 2-year-old male of 2006 - topped a record list of 450 3-year-olds nominated to this year's Triple Crown.

Dreaming of Anna, last year's champion 2-year-old filly and the winner of the BC Juvenile Fillies, was among five fillies nominated. She is expected to make her first start of the year on Saturday in the Grade 2, $150,000 Davona Dale at one mile at Gulfstream.

The total of 450 nominations breaks the record of 446 set in 2003. The deadline for early nominations, which cost $600, was Jan. 21. There is a second opportunity to nominate, by March 31, but the cost at that time escalates to $6,000.

This year's Triple Crown begins with the Derby and continues with the Preakness Stakes on May 19 and Belmont Stakes on June 9. The last horse to sweep all three races was Affirmed in 1978.

Anthony Sciametta Jr. is listed as the leading trainer with 26 nominations. He is an assistant to Todd Pletcher, whose 45-day suspension ends Friday. Those horses will undoubtedly revert to Pletcher when he comes off suspension. Another Pletcher assistant, Michael McCarthy, is listed as having six nominations - including Ravel - which will give Pletcher 32 Triple Crown nominees when he returns.

There were 27 nominations from Europe, led by trainer Aidan O'Brien with nine.

The leading owner is Ahmed Zayat, who has 16 horses nominated, either solely or in partnership. He owns Forefathers, who was second to Adore the Gold in the Swale.