06/13/2001 11:00PM

Proud Man back on turf


ELMONT, N.Y. - His flop in the Flamingo well behind him, Proud Man will try to re-establish himself as one of the top 3-year-olds on turf when he heads a 10-horse field entered in Saturday's $100,000 Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont Park.

The Hill Prince, run at nine furlongs over the inner turf course, shares billing on a nine-race card with the $100,000 Vagrancy Handicap. Both are Grade 3 events.

Proud Man, a son of Manlove, won graded turf stakes at all three south Florida tracks this winter. His connections, hoping he could transfer that form to the dirt, entered him in the Flamingo on dirt at Hialeah. He finished last, beaten 25 lengths by Thunder Blitz.

His turf career resumed at Hawthorne, where he finished a late-running second behind Kalu in the Hawthorne Derby. He was immediately sent to Saratoga, where he has been training under the tutelage of racing manager Jimmy Iselin and trainer Harry Benson. A slow pace in the Hawthorne Derby compromised Proud Man, Iselin said.

"We didn't want to change the horse's style," Iselin said. "Like many good turf horses, they win in the last 70 yards. Rene [Douglas], if he had known how slow the pace was, he would have moved sooner. The winner ran the last three-eighths of a mile in 35-and-three."

Douglas will be back aboard Proud Man, who will break from post 3 carrying top weight of 122 pounds.

After winning his first three starts, Navesink makes his stakes debut in the Hill Prince. Navesink, a son of Irish River, just won a second-level allowance race at Monmouth Park on June 1. Trainer Alan Goldberg said he is somewhat concerned wheeling him back in only two weeks.

The value of the race may be Sir Brian's Sword, who was turned over to trainer Christophe Clement earlier this year. Sir Brian's Sword was a convincing winner of the nine-furlong Citation Stakes at Hialeah before finishing second, beaten a neck, in the Jersey Derby, which was rained off the turf to the main track.

John Velazquez rides from post 9. Others in the field are Whitmore's Conn, Volponi, Reluctant Groom, Package Store, Berchtesgaden, Harrisand, and Perfect Stranger.

Victory Ride will wait for Test

Victory Ride, who suffered her first defeat when second to Forest Secrets in the Grade 1 Acorn, will skip the Mother Goose Stakes and wait for the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga on July 28.

Trainer Rusty Arnold said he believes Victory Ride will run the nine furlongs of the Mother Goose, but he would prefer to wait before stretching her out.

"I think she wants to go that far but it'd be jumping up from a mile and stepping up in a hurry against top fillies and I'm not sure she's ready to do that yet," Arnold said.

Among those pointing to the Mother Goose are Ashland winner Fleet Renee and Kentucky Oaks winner Flute. Acorn winner Forest Secrets is also expected back in the Mother Goose.

Arnold said he would ship Victory Ride - who won her first two starts by a combined 21 1/2 lengths - to Saratoga early to prepare for the Test. "That's a race I haven't won and it's such a good race for 3-year-olds," Arnold said.

Cat Chat, Astrapi aiming for Prioress

Cat Chat and Astrapi, a pair of unbeaten 3-year-old filly sprinters, are both being pointed to the $200,000 Prioress Stakes, which will be run as a Grade 1 for the first time on July 4. Cat Chat, a regally bred daughter of Storm Cat, is unbeaten in three starts, including a victory in the Grade 2 Nassau County Stakes here on May 9. She was scheduled to run in the Acorn, but missed some training due to a bruised foot, according to trainer Alan Goldberg.

Astrapi, a New York-bred daughter of Distinctive Pro, has not been out since winning the East View Stakes in December. On Thursday, Astrapi breezed five furlongs in 1:01.14 over Belmont Park's training track. She has been brought back methodically by trainer Bob Klesaris.

"One of her better races is going to be one of her first two races," Klesaris said when asked why he would bring Astrapi back in a Grade 1 off a seven-month layoff. Klesaris said he doesn't want to waste a big effort in an allowance race or minor stakes. "I know it's going to be a salty race, it's supposed to be, it's a Grade 1," he said.

Another Hidden Lake?

Four years ago, a Southern California-based horse trained by Walter Greenman was transferred to New York trainer John Kimmel, who promptly turned that horse. Hidden Lake, into a champion.

Now, a 3-year-old colt trained by Dean Greenman, Walter's son, has been transferred to Kimmel in hopes of getting him back on track.

I Love Silver, who finished second to Point Given in the San Felipe Stakes in March, has been turned over to Kimmel. On June 10, he breezed four furlongs in 48.15 seconds, his first breeze since finishing seventh in the Peter Pan Stakes in the slop.

"I don't have a good handle on him yet," Kimmel said. "Richie [Migliore] was very impressed with the horse prior to his poor performance in the mud. He breezed the horse a couple of times."

Meanwhile, Kimmel had promising news regarding Bonneville, the 4-year-old New York-bred filly who shattered both sesamoids in her right front ankle in Wednesday's eighth race. Bonneville was vanned to New Bolton Center on Thursday and was scheduled to undergo surgery on Friday. The operation, called arthrodesis, fuses the ankle joints together. Kimmel said the surgery has a 70 percent success rate.