08/15/2004 11:00PM

Presidentialaffair may skip Iselin

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OCEANPORT, N.J. - The Grade 3, $200,000 Philip H. Iselin Breeders' Cup Handicap on Saturday at Monmouth Park could be without one of its top contenders after trainer Martin Ciresa said he was unhappy with the 117 pounds assigned to Presidentialaffair.

It takes a lot to keep Presidential-affair away from Monmouth. A 5-year-old gelding, he has already won two stakes here this meet, the Grade 3 Salvator Mile and the Skip Away, and overall he has won 6 of 9 at Monmouth.

After reviewing the Iselin weight assignments, Ciresa said he is considering forgoing the Iselin in favor of the Grade 2, $250,000 Saratoga Breeders' Cup on Sunday. Presidentialaffair was assigned 115 for that race.

Presidentialaffair was assigned 117 pounds for the 1 1/8-mile Iselin, the same weight he carried in the Salvator. The assignment was three pounds fewer than the 120 given to Ghostzapper.

"Ghostzapper consistently runs some of the best speed figures in the country," said Ciresa. "Five pounds would be fair, four pounds I could possibly see, but three are not enough."

In his lone start of the season, Ghostzapper earned a 120 Beyer Figure in winning the Grade 2 Tom Fool Handicap on July 4 at Belmont Park, the best this year in a race up to one mile.

Ghostzapper has never run beyond seven furlongs.

Trainer Bobby Frankel has the top two runners on the Iselin scale in Peace Rules, winner of last year's Haskell Invitational at Mon-mouth, at 122, and Ghostzapper.

Peace Rules, who ran sixth as the 3-1 favorite in the Saratoga's Grade 1 Whitney Handicap, is not expected for the Iselin.

In addition to Ghostzapper, probable Iselin starters include Roaring Fever and Sherpa Guide, both of whom were assigned 113 pounds.

Roaring Fever most recently ran third in the Salvator Mile. Sherpa Guide, second last time out in the Evan Shipman Stakes for New York-breds at Belmont Park, was fourth in last year's Iselin.

Le Parrain makes U.S. debut

Le Parrain, a winner of two of four races in his native Argentina, makes his U.S. debut Wednesday in Monmouth's $41,000 featured allowance race at 1 1/16 miles.

Trainer Peter Walder found a good spot for La Parrain: Three of the seven runners exit claiming races, making it a wide-open contest.

Le Parrain has not run since Dec. 31 and arrived in Florida shortly after that race for an orientation period at an Ocala farm. Le Parrain joined Walder's Monmouth barn in May.

"It seems the more time you give these horses, the better off they are," said Walder. "It doesn't work to bring them to this country and rush them. It's important to get them acclimated. They pretty much let you know when they're ready."

Le Parrain sent the signal July 31, when he worked in company from the starting gate and posted a five-furlong bullet work of 1:01.

"He worked lights out," said Walder. "Ever since then, he totally turned around. His attitude changed. He's been a monster in the barn. I think he's sitting on a good race."

Stewart Elliott will ride Le Parrain, who will race on Lasix.

Awe steps up into this spot following a reclaim by trainer Alan Seewald, who lost Awe for $16,000 on July 4 and took him back for $22,000 on July 31.

A closer, Awe never hit his best stride last time out in a six-furlong race, and a return to a two-turn contest should improve his chances. Jose Velez Jr. has the mount.