04/23/2007 12:00AM

Nobiz Like Shobiz sharpens up


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Nobiz Like Shobiz was all business bright and early Monday morning, working a sharp five furlongs in 59.59 seconds over the Belmont Park training track in preparation for the Kentucky Derby on May 5.

Jockey Cornelio Velasquez was aboard for the work, which was conducted shortly after the training track opened at 6 a.m. Belmont clockers caught Nobiz in fractions of 11.76 seconds, 23.35, and 35.56 and caught him galloping out six furlongs in 1:13.09, seven furlongs in 1:27.24, and one mile in 1:42.42.

The move was in sharp contrast to the half-mile breeze in 51.20 seconds that Nobiz Like Shobiz turned in last Wednesday over the training track.

"There wasn't any disaster to that, but I like to keep it a little more precise," Tagg said. "When you're working a precise horse for a precise day for a precise thing, I'd kind of like everything to go right. Ultimately, the good ones overcome it, whatever you screw up."

Tagg, who won the Kentucky Derby in 2003 with Funny Cide, said he was "very happy" with Nobiz Like Shobiz less than two weeks before the Derby. Tagg believes Nobiz Like Shobiz has moved forward since his victory in the Wood Memorial on April 7.

"I think he's maturing every day," Tagg said. "Some reporters [have written] that I've been touting him heavily. All I said in the beginning is he's the right type of horse. You can't look at him and think he's not the right type of horse and he hasn't done a whole lot wrong. Win, lose, or draw I feel pretty comfortable going into it."

So does Velasquez, who believes Nobiz Like Shobiz "has changed" with the addition of blinkers. And while Nobiz Like Shobiz was up on the pace in the Wood, Velasquez believes he will be able to get him behind horses in the Derby.

"At Gulfstream, before we came up here, I put him behind two horses [in the morning] and he relaxed okay," Velasquez said. "I think he runs better behind horses. There's a lot of speed in the Kentucky Derby; I think he has a good chance."

By working him Monday, Tagg will most likely give Nobiz Like Shobiz his final breeze on Sunday before shipping to Louisville on May 2.

Preakness for Street Magician?

Michael Trombetta, who saddled last year's Derby favorite, Sweetnorthernsaint, may not make it back to Louisville this year, but he hopes he has a 3-year-old good enough to take him back to the Preakness.

Trombetta will run Street Magician in Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct, and a strong performance by the lightly raced son of Street Cry could earn him a berth in the May 19 Preakness.

"We would consider it, don't know for sure we would do it," Trombetta said. "He would have to really impress everybody to do it. That was the path [Tom] Albertrani took last year [with Bernardini]; he had an exceptionally good horse, though."

Street Magician has won 2 of 3 starts, including the Aventura Stakes at Gulfstream on March 31. Racing on seven weeks' rest, he was part of a hot early pace and won by a half-length over Yesbyjimminy.

"What I liked about him was it was a fast pace, he was forced into the pace a little bit, the fractions were solid all the way around, and he fought off everybody," Trombetta said. "Off the seven weeks that he had gotten I was impressed by that."

Street Magician completed preparations for the Withers on Monday at Laurel Park, working five furlongs in 1:00.20. Rafael Bejarano, who is 2 for 2 aboard Street Magician, has the call in the Withers.

Others expected to run include Blue Bullet, Brisco n Logan, C P West, Elusive Warning, and Frosty Secret. Possible runners include Cherokee Country and Sir Whimsey.

Masseuse points to Beaugay

Masseuse appeared on the verge of becoming a stakes winner last summer when an injury suffered shortly after the start of the Grade 3 Matchmaker last August at Monmouth Park forced trainer Jimmy Toner to stop on her.

Perhaps in need of a race when she finished third in the Grade 3 Hillsborough Handicap last month at Tampa Bay Downs, Masseuse could be ready to break through and record her first stakes victory in Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Beaugay Handicap.

Toner said Masseuse pulled a gluteal muscle in the Matchmaker. She was favored in that race but was pulled up just a few strides out of the starting gate by jockey Edgar Prado.

"There was a very short post parade because of TV and she never got a chance to get warmed up, and she's a filly that needs a good warm-up," Toner said. "Her rear end never came out of there and she buckled over, and Edgar got concerned and he pulled her up. In pulling up she pulled a gluteal muscle. It took quite a bit of time to get her built back up."

In the Hillsborough, Masseuse finished third behind Cassydora, who had won two previous races on the year, and My Typhoon, who came back to win the off-the-turf Jenny Wiley Handicap last week at Keeneland.

"She ran very good first time back," Toner said. "Those were two very nice fillies in front of her and she ran a real credible race."

Others pointing to the Beaugay include Cassydora, Factual Contender, Finlandia, and Wait It Out. Possible starters include Calla Lily and Meribel.

Diamond Stripes in Stephen Foster

Diamond Stripes, who improved his record to 4 for 4 with a two-length allowance win on Thursday at Aqueduct, will make his next start in the Grade 1, $750,000 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 16.

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. listed several reasons why he chose the Stephen Foster over the Grade 1, $400,000 Suburban Handicap at Belmont on June 30.

"He's a gelding, it's twice as much money, Invasor is coming here, and [the Suburban] is a mile and a quarter and [the Foster] is a mile and an eighth," Dutrow said. "There are a couple of things that add up."

In his allowance win last week, Diamond Stripes ran a mile in 1:36.03 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 106, equaling the figure he earned winning the Grade 2 Pegasus last fall at the Meadowlands.

Handfield out, Camac in at NYRA

Gary Handfield, who has worked in the racing office since 1984, left his position as assistant racing secretary following Sunday's races. He will be replaced on Wednesday by Charlie Camac, a former racing official at Delaware Park.

Handfield, 51, was eligible for early retirement, but the circumstances surrounding his departure from the New York Racing Association were unclear. He began working for NYRA as a part-time outrider in 1973 and joined the association as a full-time employee in 1978.

Camac had worked as an assistant racing secretary at Delaware Park last year.