04/06/2003 11:00PM

Prado chooses right, opting for Dynever


HALLADALE BEACH, Fla. - Jockeys rarely give up a live mount in a Grade 1 race to ride another horse in an ungraded race worth half the money. But that's exactly the choice Edgar Prado made when he kept his regular seat Saturday aboard Dynever, who won the $250,000 Aventura Stakes at Gulfstream Park, instead of sticking with Take Charge Lady, who ended up second by a head behind Azeri in the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn later that afternoon.

"This is the time of year we're all looking for 3-year-olds," Prado said when asked about his choice of mounts on Saturday.

Another issue for Prado was that Ken McPeek, who trains Take Charge Lady, took his time deciding to run her in the Apple Blossom.

"Kenny wasn't even sure he was going to run in the race at Oaklawn until the middle of the week, and I couldn't give up the call on Dynever to wait for him to make a decision," Prado said, adding "I was rooting real hard for her to win that race."

Even if McPeek had made an earlier commitment to run Take Charge Lady in the Apple Blossom, it's a pretty good bet Prado would have ridden Dynever.

"I was really impressed with the way the colt improved so much from his first start to his second," Prado said, referring to Dynever's impressive eight-length maiden victory. "And he did it again on Saturday. He got hit with dirt, was between horses, and was loafing a bit. But when I called on him he really responded and then galloped out very, very good after the race. While the other horses were all stopping, he was still going strong."

Even with Dynever's brilliant performance in the Aventura, Prado finds himself searching for a Kentucky Derby mount. Dynever's trainer, Christophe Clement, gave no indication of having any Derby thoughts for Dynever - other than the Lone Star Derby on May 10.

Prado's best Derby prospect at the moment appears to be Peace Rules, whom he rode to an easy victory in the Louisiana Derby. Prado will team up with Peace Rules Saturday at Keeneland in the Blue Grass.

"The only races Chris mentioned to me for this horse [Dynever] are the Lone Star Derby and Belmont," said Prado. "He's done a super job pointing Dynever in the right direction, so whatever he chooses to do will be fine with me."

Supah Blitz could head to Kentucky

Trainer Manny Tortora was pleased with Supah Blitz's second-place finish behind Dynever in the Aventura and said he is still considering the Kentucky Derby an option for his horse.

"That horse that beat us Saturday might be the best 3-year-old in the country right now, and he's not going to the Derby," said Tortora. "In fact, I was thinking about the Lone Star Derby for my colt next, but that's where they are talking about sending Dynever, and I don't want to meet him again. If he goes there, I might go to Kentucky."

Supah Blitz would have no problem getting into the Kentucky Derby if he goes, having amassed graded earnings by finishing third in the Grade 3 Tropical Park Derby, second in the Grade 1 Fountain of Youth, and fourth in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.

"I've had some people interested in buying my horse, so we'll see what happens over the next week before I make a decision about the Derby," Tortora said.

Trust N Luck works fast

Trust N Luck, who easily defeated Supah Blitz in both the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby, but was withdrawn from Kentucky Derby consideration by trainer Ralph Ziadie last week, worked a mile in 1:45 at Calder on Monday.

"He went too fast," said Ziadie. "He was just supposed to open gallop at a two-minute clip."

Ziadie said he remains on target with Trust N Luck for the Lexington Stakes on April 19.

Two grass races top Monday card

A pair of $34,000 first-level allowance races at 1 1/16 miles on the grass highlight Monday's nine-race program.

In the first division, May Expectations and Lunar Mon meet. May Expectations was third under similar conditions in his last start, while Lunar Mon missed by a nose to Restage after a stretch duel in his only start here this winter.

The Ziadie-trained Me and Mr. Z and Morning's Image, trained by Phil Hauswald, are the two likely favorites in the second division.