06/08/2005 11:00PM

Plan is for Mass Media to relax

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ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Bobby Frankel has decided to make an equipment change when Mass Media runs in Saturday's $200,000 True North Breeders' Cup Handicap at Belmont Park.

will race with blinkers off for the first time in his 11-race career. Frankel said Mass Media has trained well without blinkers and would like to see him relax during the early stages of his races.

Mass Media is among 12 entered in a wide-open edition of the Grade 2 True North.

In his last start, Mass Media finished fifth in the Grade 1 Carter on April 9 at Aqueduct, his third loss of the year.

With the equipment change and Mass Media dropping back to six furlongs, a distance at which he won two races at Belmont Park last year, he should be a strong contender.

"He showed too much speed in the Carter, and that's why I'm taking the blinkers off, so he can relax," Frankel said. "I freshened him up some and he is good right now."

Jose Santos, who will ride Mass Media from post 9, has also been working Mass Media in the mornings, including a very sharp five-furlong work in 59.72 seconds, the fastest of 16 at the distance on May 27.

Last September in an overnight stakes at Belmont, Mass Media beat Smokume, who is among his rivals in the True North.

returned to the races last month after an eight-month layoff to recover from a knee injury and won the Decathlon at Monmouth. Chantal Sutherland, aboard in the Decathlon, has the mount on Smokume.

Allen Jerkens, Smokume's trainer, said he isn't worried about Smokume regressing after running a big race in his first start off the layoff.

"He worked fast the other day [June 5], and when he does that, he usually runs well," Jerkens said.

, the likely favorite, won the Grade 3 Maryland Breeders' Cup Handicap on Preakness Day. The win was his third in a row and came in his first start since being claimed for $100,000.

Thunder Touch, a graded winner, didn't show much in his turf debut May 29 in the Jaipur, so trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said he is comfortable running him back here on short rest.

Trainer Todd Pletcher, who won this race last year with Speightstown, entered Vicarage. Vicarage is a 3-year-old and could have run in Saturday's Riva Ridge against his own age group, but Pletcher said he didn't want his colt to face Lost in the Fog.

The field

True North Breeders' Cup Handicap
Purse: $200,000; 6 furlongs; Grade 2

PPHORSEJOCKEYWT.ODDS
1Sing Me Back HomeN. Arroyo Jr.11250-1
2With DistinctionG. Stevens11520-1
3AbbondanzaE. Coa11630-1
4VoodooJ. Castellano11350-1
5VicarageJ. Velazquez11115-1
6SmokumeC. Sutherland1174-1
7Woke Up DreaminM. Smith1167-2
8Always NobleJ. Rose11320-1
9Mass MediaJ. Santos1176-1
10AggadanC. Velasquez1155-1
11Willy o'the ValleyE. Prado1179-2
12Key DeputyJ. Bailey1135-1

* Odds by DRF