08/29/2003 12:00AM

Obstacles for Aldebaran

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Aldebaran will try to break trainer Bobby Frankel's long winless spell at Saratoga in the Forego.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Bobby Frankel hopes to break out of his Saratoga slump Sunday when he sends out Aldebaran in the $250,000 Forego Handicap, the final Grade 1 race of the meet.

Frankel is 0 for 18 at Saratoga since Medaglia d'Oro won the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap Aug. 2. Aldebaran, winner of the Metropolitan Handicap in May, is making his first start since taking the Grade 2 Tom Fool Handicap on July 4.

Aldebaran, who finished second in this race last year, is a one-run closer on a track that typically plays against that style. That, plus the 123-pound weight assignment gives Frankel reasons to be concerned.

"I'm hoping it rains so [the track] changes,'' said Frankel, whose horses have still managed to bank $570,160 during his slump. "There's enough speed; no one's going to get real loose. I got to give away a lot of weight to those horses. I'd have more confidence at a track like Belmont, because he can let him run around the turn, or even Santa Anita, than here. You can catch up in a hurry at Santa Anita.''

Jerry Bailey rides Aldebaran from post 4.

Gygistar, owned by Ed Evans and trained by Mark Hennig, is the horse to beat in the Forego, run at seven furlongs. As a 3-year-old, Gygistar went 5 for 5 with three stakes victories, including a three-length score in the Grade 1 King's Bishop here.

Gygistar suffered a severe foot injury while training for last October's Breeders' Cup Sprint, and he did not make the race. Gygistar returned in the Deputy Minister Handicap at Gulfstream in February and finished fifth. A month later, he suffered a knee chip, which needed to be surgically removed.

Gygistar returned in a July 25 allowance race here, which he won by 5 3/4 lengths. Gygistar, who will break from the rail under Pat Day, figures to get first run on Aldebaran while stalking probable pacesetter Mike's Classic.

"I think we're a bit more tactical, which always helps,'' Hennig said. "He's done real well and we're looking forward to returning to Grade 1 competition.''

Mike's Classic finished third in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt after dueling with odds-on favorite Shake You Down. As a non-stakes winner, Mike's Classic gets in at 113 pounds, a 10-pound concession from Aldebaran and six from Gygistar.

The last time My Cousin Matt raced at seven furlongs, he won the Grade 2 General George Handicap at Laurel. He is winless in three starts since, but seems to be training well for the Forego and gets leading rider John Velazquez.

Proud Citizen, Najran, and Sing Me Back Home complete the field.