10/08/2004 11:00PM

Pompay finds easier spot for Titanius


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - As discretion is the better part of valor, trainer Terri Pompay scratched Titanius from the Paterson Stakes Friday night at The Meadowlands Racetrack.

Pompay had a fallback position, however, that should be an easier spot for Titanius: the $41,000 allowance feature Monday afternoon at The Meadowlands, which runs a special nine-race Columbus Day card starting at 1:10 p.m. Eastern.

The track will also offer the usual matinee program Tuesday before switching back to an evening schedule Wednesday through Saturday.

Titanius lands in a two-other-than allowance at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. The Paterson, for 3-year-olds, was run at the same distance on the turf. The stakes was split into divisions, and the one from which Titanius scratched went to Forest Grove, a Todd Pletcher-trainee who won the Ocean Place Resort Stakes on the Haskell Day undercard at Monmouth Park.

Pompay said the Monday race will better suit Titanius.

"This should be an easier spot," said Pompay. "We want to build his confidence up. We want to win."

This will be the third start Titanius makes for Pompay. A 3-year-old colt, Titanius started his career in Florida under the care of Manuel Azpurua. Roberto Sanson sent Titanius to Pompay this summer at Monmouth.

"He had tailed off down at Calder," said Pompay. "The track down there seemed to be bothering his hind end."

Titanius improved on the Jersey Shore, winning an off-the-turf allowance in the slop in his first start for Pompay. He followed with a fourth-place finish in Monmouth's Majestic Prince Stakes run over "good" turf.

"I thought he ran well in the stakes," said Pompay. "I thought he was going to be second, but he seemed to get bogged down at the end in the soft turf."

Pompay said she believes Titanius has a bright future on grass. She also trained Delirio, Titanius's half sister, for Sanson.

"Delirio was very effective on the turf, but she couldn't run a step on the dirt," said Pompay. "I'm sure Titanius will do well on the turf, but right now we want to pick his head up. We want a win."

The main threats to Titanius appear to be With Probability, a front-running allowance winner last time out; Dancin Dusty, a winner of consecutive New Jersey-bred allowances now facing open company; and Play Bingo, a commanding allowance winner at Delaware Park.

Preferred customers get dibs

The Meadowlands mailed the first 6,000 account-wagering applications Friday to names on the track's preferred customer list. Applications will be available later this week at customer-service windows at all New Jersey racetracks. Those who respond early will be processed in time to wager via the Internet on the Breeders' Cup on Oct. 30.

Controversy over Belmont simulcasts

Bruce Garland, senior vice president of racing for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which owns The Meadowlands and Monmouth Park, has asked the New Jersey Racing Commission to shut off the Belmont Park simulcasts to Atlantic City casinos.

The New Jersey racetracks recently halted the Belmont simulcasts because of a dispute between the New York Racing Association and the Mid-Atlantic simulcast cooperative.

The casinos, which are not members of the cooperative, continue to handle Belmont.

In the past, the commission has adopted an all-or-nothing policy regarding imported simulcasts .