10/02/2002 12:00AM

Patrol gets his shot at the big time

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ELMONT, N.Y. - As Patrol sped his way to victory in a May 11 maiden turf race at Belmont Park, it was hard not to think about another Claiborne Farm horse from a decade ago.

It was in the fall of 1992 that Lure launched his turf career, winning a 1 1/16-mile allowance race at Belmont. He would go on to win back-to-back runnings of the Breeders' Cup Mile.

Saturday, Patrol will try to prove he is worthy of running in the Breeders' Cup Mile when he runs in Saturday's $350,000 Kelso Handicap, a race Lure won in 1993.

Patrol, a son of Lear Fan, has won 4 of 5 starts on turf, including the Nick Shuk Memorial at Delaware Park and the Rushing Man Stakes at The Meadowlands last time out. His final time of 1:39.60 for 1 1/16 miles was .20 off the Meadowlands course record.

"He's got some quality about him," said Bill Mott, who trains Patrol. "As fast as he's run early in some of his races, he's been able to finish up."

The only poor turf race Patrol has run was in the Grade 2 Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga. In that race he broke slowly, rushed up to make the lead, but faltered in the final furlong. Mott believes the nine furlongs might have been Patrol's downfall.

"A mile and an eighth might have been stretching him too far," Mott said. "He doesn't slow down early."

Harnessing Patrol's early speed may be the key to how successful he can be. Mott said Patrol seemed a bit more controlled in his last start.

Patrol will meet his stiffest competition yet when he runs against two-time Kelso winner Forbidden Apple and graded stakes winners Moon Solitaire and Baptize. Others expected for the one-mile turf race are Lunar Leo, Krieger, and possibly River Rush, Green Fee, and Waltzin Storm.

Volponi, the Poker winner, will enter the Kelso, but is expected to run in the Meadowlands Cup Friday night.

Bella Bellucci done for year

Bella Bellucci will not run in Saturday's $750,000 Beldame Stakes or the Breeders' Cup Distaff, trainer Neil Drysdale said Wednesday.

Drysdale said he has not been pleased with how Bella Bellucci has been training and will point her to a 4-year-old campaign that will most likely include the three-race La Canada Series at Santa Anita.

"She's not training as well as she has," Drysdale said.

Bella Bellucci began the year as one of the top 3-year-old fillies. She won the Santa Paula Stakes at Santa Anita and the Grade 3 Comely at Aqueduct before things went awry. She was scratched out of the Kentucky Oaks with a low blood count, and strained a muscle while finishing third in the Acorn. She scratched out of the Alabama because of a wet track. Most recently, she finished third in the Grade 1 Gazelle.

The defection of Bella Bellucci leaves the Beldame with a probable field of seven: Summer Colony, Imperial Gesture, Mandy's Gold, Allamerican Bertie, Transcendental, Minister's Baby, and Unrestrained.

Imperial Gesture, the Ruffian winner, breezed five furlongs in 1:04.45 Wednesday at Belmont.

Violette runs promising juveniles

Trainer Rick Violette will be represented in both of Saturday's Grade 1 races for 2-year-olds, the $500,000 Champagne and $500,000 Frizette. In the Champagne, Violette sends out Erinsouthernman and in the Frizette he saddles One and Twenty.

Erinsouthernman enters the 1 1/16-mile Champagne following a win in his career debut on Sept. 1 at Saratoga. He won the seven-furlong race by 4 3/4 lengths in 1:24.70.

"I'm asking more of him than [One and Twenty]," Violette said. "But he's an exceptional colt that is learning fast. We have schooled him as much as we could in the mornings."

Last week, Violette, who is stabled at Aqueduct, sent Erinsouthernman to Belmont Park to gain some experience over the track. The colt worked a bullet six furlongs in 1:14.02.

Violette said a good effort from Erinsouthernman, who is owned by West Point Stable, could earn the colt a trip to the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Arlington Park on Oct. 26.

Erinsouthernman's sire, Eltish, finished second in the 1994 BC Juvenile.

Richard Migliore picks up the mount on Erinsouthernman because Shaun Bridgmohan, who rode the horse in his first race, sticks with Pretty Wild, the runner-up in the Futurity and Hopeful.

One and Twenty, owned by Klaravich Stables, switches back to the dirt after consecutive wins on the turf in a maiden race and a division of the Grade 3 Natalma Stakes at Woodbine on Sept. 7. Before winning a 1 1/16-mile maiden race at Saratoga, One and Twenty finished fourth in a pair of dirt sprints.

Violette said he doesn't think it was so much the surface switch that made the difference with One and Twenty, but rather the increase in distance. "She ran an exceptional race in Toronto," Violette said. "She's trained well on the dirt and we'll take a shot."

Bridgmohan will ride One and Twenty in the 1 1/16-mile Frizette.

Man From Wicklow lowers sights

Violette said that Man From Wicklow, who was scratched from Sunday's $750,000 Turf Classic Invitational, suffered from muscle cramps the day before the race. Man From Wicklow figured to be a contender in the 1 1/2-mile race after finishing third in the Grade 1 Man o' War earlier at the meet.

"He tied up and his enzyme levels were sky high when we took his blood," Violette said.

With turf opportunities dwindling this time of the year, Violette, who co-owns Man From Wicklow, said the $150,000 Red Smith at Aqueduct on Nov. 23 is a possibility.

"What a disappointment to go from a $750,000 race to maybe the Breeders' Cup if he ran well to a $150,000 race," he said.

Sandy drops the weight

With 125 pounds on his back in the General Douglas MacArthur, Say Florida Sandy flopped as the favorite and finished sixth in the New York-bred race. On Sunday, Say Florida Sandy, the richest New York-bred of all-time, will carry 116 in a tougher field in the Grade 2 Forest Hills Handicap.

Say Florida Sandy's trainer, Victor Cuadra, said that in recent years the 8-year-old has demonstrated a dislike for heavier weight assignments.

"It's not that he isn't capable," Cuadra said Wednesday at his Aqueduct barn. "He just doesn't want to [carry the weight]. Sometimes he's not comfortable doing it. He didn't do much racing in his last race, so he came out of it very sharp and tough."

Before the MacArthur, Say Florida Sandy carried 115 pounds and finished second to top sprinter Orientate in the Grade 2 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga.

Squirtle Squirt, last year's Breeders' Cup Sprint winner, has been assigned 122 pounds as the highweight of the $250,000 Forest Hills. If an expected sale of the horse goes through on Friday, Squirtle Squirt is not expected to start in the six-furlong Forest Hills.

Others pointing to the Forest Hills include Avanzado, Dash for Daylight, Esteemed Friend, and Sunray Spirit.

* Medaglia d'Oro, the Jim Dandy and Travers winner, continued his preparations for the Breeder's Cup Classic Wednesday with a six-furlong move in 1:13.07, the fastest of four moves at the distance. Jockey Aaron Gryder was aboard. Trainer Bobby Frankel said he would work Medaglia d'Oro three more times before the Classic.

* John Velazquez suffered a bruised left leg when his mount, Kingsland, flipped in the gate, and unseated the rider in the eighth race. Velazquez took off his last mount, but expected to return on Friday. Kingsland, who was scratched, escaped serious injury.

- additional reporting by Karen M. Johnson and Jay Privman