08/22/2004 11:00PM

Presidentialaffair vs. softer next time


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Trainer Martin Ciresa will look for an easier spot next time out for Presidentialaffair.

A 5-year-old gelding, Presidentialaffair was no match for the very impressive Ghostzapper in the Grade 3, $200,000 Philip H. Iselin Breeders' Cup Handicap Saturday at Monmouth Park.

Ghostzapper, a Grade 1-winning sprinter, stretched out beyond seven furlongs for the first time in the 1 1/8-mile Iselin. Ghostzapper stalked the brisk pace set by Presidentialaffair over the sloppy track. Ghostzapper beat Presidentialaffair by 10 3/4 lengths and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 128 - the highest by any horse this year. He now is being pointed to the Breeders' Cup Classic by trainer Bobby Frankel

"Ghostzapper is the best horse in the country right now," said Ciresa. "I don't see anybody better out there now."

Ciresa, having had his fill of Ghostzapper, said he will "look to avoid him and make the next race as easy as possible on my horse."

Ciresa is focusing on the $50,000 Devil's Honor Handicap for Pennsylvania-breds going seven furlongs at Philadelphia Park on Sept. 4.

Beyond that, Ciresa will consider the Hawthorne Gold Cup and the Maryland Million for Presidentialaffair, the winner of Monmouth's Grade 3 Salvator Mile.

Ciresa second-guessed himself over the Iselin, citing the weight spread of only three pounds (120-117) between his horse and Ghostzapper.

"Everything was wrong," he said. "Everything I didn't want to have happen happened. We wound up in the equivalent of a Grade 1 race in a four-horse field. When the weights came out, I should have gone to the Saratoga Cup."

Zoffinger, the only Monmouth-based runner in the four-horse Iselin, will also head for a softer spot.

In the race within the race, Zoffinger nosed out Private Lap for third when he crossed the finish line 32 lengths behind Ghostzapper.

"He came out of if just perfect," said Pat McBurney, the assistant trainer for John Forbes. "We're looking at a number of spots including a two-other-than allowance race on the grass."

Deputized 'sitting on a win'

Owner-trainer Amy Tarrant has high expectations with two runners entered Wednesday in a $37,000 maiden special weight.

The six-furlong race attracted eight 3-year-olds, and Tarrant feels that Deputized is "sitting on a win."

Deputized debuted on July 5 and tired badly in the slop. He chased a quick pace last time out on Aug. 12 and held on for fourth at 125-1 to earn a 57 Beyer Speed Figure.

"There was some real speed in there, and he did very well," said Tarrant. "He also lost a front shoe in the race. This race looks very good for him."

Montavonni, Tarrant's other horse, makes his debut. A $110,000 yearling purchase, he has been hampered by the usual shin problems that hit young horses.

"It's time for him to get going," said Tarrant. "He's too nice a horse to leave here without breaking his maiden."

Montavonni shows a solid work tab for his debut.

"He's starting to exhibit that he can run," said Tarrant. "All his issues seem to be over. Now it's time."

Montavonni is one of four first-timers in the race.

Among the horses who have already run, True Call has the best Beyer, a 62 earned last time out in a third-place finish in a maiden claimer at Belmont Park.

Habiboo to Pennsylvania Oaks?

Tarrant is considering the $100,000 Pennsylvania Oaks on Labor Day at Philadelphia Park for Habiboo's next start.

"It should be a good spot," said Tarrant. "It couldn't come up harder than the race she was just in."

Habiboo ran third in the Grade 2 Monmouth Breeders' Cup Oaks on Aug. 15 in her stakes debut.

The 3-year-old filly came out of the Oaks with a bout of colic that quickly passed.