02/18/2004 12:00AM

Owner sends Sir Oscar to Wolfson

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Sir Oscar won all six of his starts as a 2-year-old, swept the open division of the Florida Stallion Stakes and, along with Second of June and Silver Wagon, was among the leaders of one of the strongest juvenile classes ever stabled at Calder Race Course.

But after finishing fifth in Saturday's Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, Sir Oscar has been taken away from trainer Manny Azpurua by owner-breeder Oscar Novo and placed under the direction of Marty Wolfson.

"I wasn't in any way disappointed in the job Manny had done with Sir Oscar, and we are still friends," Novo said. "I just thought a change would be in the better interests of the horse."

Wolfson, who also trains the top 3-year-olds Wynn Dot Comma and Zakocity, said he was pleasantly surprised when approached to take Sir Oscar the day after the Fountain of Youth.

"I've never trained for Mr. Novo before," Wolfson said. "The horse came over to me on Sunday and looked well. He did bleed badly in the Fountain of Youth, enough to certainly hamper his performance, and he'll run on Lasix for the first time in his next start."

What that next start will be remains up in the air, although Wolfson said he is leaning toward the Grade 1 Florida Derby.

"We'll see how he trains over the next couple of weeks," said Wolfson. "There are so many options available for 3-year-olds at this time of year. I know he's a good horse and that if he can run back to his best races from last year, he can be competitive in the Florida Derby."

Azpurua, who did a flawless job with Sir Oscar throughout his 2-year-old campaign, took the change in stride.

"The owner is the owner, and he has the final say," Azpurua said. "Sometimes in this business we know how to win but we don't know how to lose a race."

Tapit back in training after shin problem

The undefeated Tapit is back in training after missing some time due to a minor problem with his left front shin, his trainer, Michael Dickinson, said Wednesday.

Tapit had been training at Palm Meadows and was expected to launch his 3-year-old campaign in last week's Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds. But Dickinson canceled those plans after discovering the injury and brought Tapit back to his Tapeta Farm in Maryland.

"He worked for the first time in two weeks and five days earlier this week, and he got a little tired," said Dickinson. The move was a half-mile in 52.40 seconds. "Right now we've got nothing planned. It all depends on how he comes around. He's going to need at least a couple of more works. Fortunately the weather has broken up here, so I can keep him with me at the farm and not have to send him back to Florida."

When asked if he had lost too much training time with Tapit to still consider the Kentucky Derby as a viable option, Dickinson laughed.

"Oh ye of little faith," he said.

Dickinson will be in action this weekend at Gulfstream when he sends out Master William in Saturday's Palm Beach Stakes.

Master William, who won his maiden in Woodbine's Cup and Saucer Stakes at 2, is owned by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, who also own Kitten's Joy, the horse to beat in the Grade 3 Palm Beach.

"At first the Ramseys didn't want me to run Master William against their other horse, but I told them he's crying out to race and there is nowhere else to run him at the moment," Dickinson said. "There just are not a lot of options for grass in the winter."

Edgar Prado will ride Master William.

Dickinson worked his promising 3-year-old filly Dynamia at Gulfstream on Wednesday. She went five furlongs on the grass in 1:02.60 in company with Savedbythelight, an older stakes winner trained by Richard Violette. Dynamia is being pointed for the Herecomesthebride Stakes on Feb. 28.

Eurosilver works toward Swale

Eurosilver, one of trainer Nick Zito's three Kentucky Derby candidates, worked five furlongs in 1:02 Wednesday morning at the Palm Meadows training center. It was his first breeze since winning a seven-furlong, second-level allowance race on Feb. 4 at Gulfstream.

Earlier this week, Zito explained why he has chosen to run Eurosilver at seven furlongs again in the Swale Stakes on March 13 rather than stretch him out around two turns. Zito said Eurosilver can be hard on himself in his training, and he believes the colt will be better prepared for the Kentucky Derby by running in a pair of one-turn races and a single two-turn race than vice versa.

"If we get two seven-eighths [races] into him there will be more in the tank," Zito said. "We won't have to worry about him getting the distance, and we won't have too worry about not having enough bottom."

After the Swale, Zito plans to run Eurosilver, a son of Unbridled's Song, in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 10. Last fall, Eurosilver won the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland in his only start around two turns.

Kicken Kris to run in Gulfstream Breeders' Cup

Kicken Kris, who won the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes as a 3-year-old, in Sunday's Grade 1, $250,000 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap.

Kicken Kris, a son of Kris S. owned by the Brushwood Stable, has not run since finishing third in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby last November. He was beaten only a length that day.

"The turns were a little tight at Hollywood, and the pace was so slow in the beginning I didn't understand why Javier [Castellano] didn't go on with him, but that's old news," trainer Michael Matz said.

Matz said Castellano had so much success with Kicken Kris last year that he will ride him on Saturday.

Matz understands that he picked a hard spot for Kicken Kris to return, but likes the way the colt has been training and said Kicken Kris needs to get started.

"We didn't let him down completely after the Hollywood race," Matz said. "He's been working fine."

Kicken Kris went 2 for 2 over the Gulfstream turf last year. Kicken Kris, who is based at Palm Beach Downs, was vanned to Gulfstream on Wednesday to school in the paddock.

Hard Buck and Slew Valley, both candidates for the Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup, had workouts on Wednesday. Hard Buck, who went 3 for 3 in turf stakes in North America last year, breezed four furlongs in 49.80 seconds over the Gulfstream turf. Slew Valley worked four furlongs in 47.80 seconds on dirt.

Paper Man may try Palm Beach

Paper Man, a $200,000 yearling purchase, has been a disappointment on the dirt for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, so the 3-year-old son of Woodman may be headed for the turf.

After working a sharp half-mile in 49 seconds Wednesday on the grass, Paper Man could make his next start in Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Palm Beach Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.

"He worked good on that turf," said assistant trainer Larry Kelly. "I know I had a different horse out there."

Kelly wanted to check with Lukas first before confirming Paper Man to the race. Lukas won last year's Palm Beach with Nothing to Lose.

* Funny Cide, prepping for the New Orleans Handicap on Feb. 29, worked four furlongs in 48 seconds Wednesday at Palm Meadows. It was the second-fastest of 17 moves at the distance.

- additional reporting by David Grening