10/07/2003 12:00AM

Qais looking to stretch out, stay perfect


ELMONT, N.Y. - If Funny Cide returns to the races in the Discovery Handicap later this month at Aqueduct, one of his chief rivals could be Qais, an undefeated 3-year-old owned by Godolphin Racing.

Qais's participation in the Oct. 29 Discovery will depend on how he runs Thursday in the $65,000 Coronado's Quest, a one-mile overnight stakes race on Belmont Park's nine-race card.

Qais, a half-brother to Arc de Triomphe and English Derby winner Lammtarra, is 3 for 3, including an entry-level allowance victory at Belmont in June and an impressive nine-length score in a second-level allowance race at Saratoga on Aug. 30. Qais covered seven furlongs in 1:21.81 that day, and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 113.

"To be honest, I wasn't expecting him to win like that," said Tom Albertrani, who trains Godolphin's New York-based runners. "We were encouraged with his first race at Belmont, and he always looked like he could be pretty good."

Coming off such a big effort, Qais skipped the Jerome Handicap two weeks later. This one-turn mile race appears to be a natural progression for Qais, whose previous three races were at seven furlongs.

"We didn't intend to wait this long, but the way the program worked out there were no nonwinners-of-three races," Albertrani said. "He looked like a horse that could be something better than that, anyway, and this race comes up perfectly."

Jerry Bailey will ride Qais from the outside post in the five-horse field.

Newfoundland, a 3-year-old son of Storm Cat, is starting to show why he sold for $3.3 million at auction as a yearling. His owner, the Sumaya Us Stables of Oussama Obou-Ghazale, purchased him privately from trainer Aidan O'Brien and turned him over to Todd Pletcher. After mixed results in his first five starts for Pletcher, Newfoundland has won his last two races, including a third-level allowance race going 1 1/16 miles on Sept. 12.

Halo Homewrecker looked like a promising 3-year-old sprinter when he won the Grade 3 Bay Shore at Aqueduct in April. But, he has been unable to regain that form. He won't be facing the likes of Valid Video or Posse, as he has in his last three races, but a form reversal is a must if he is to defeat Qais.

Conservation, trained by Barclay Tagg, broke a five-race losing streak winning an off-the-turf stakes at Pimlico last out. American Mon, a son of Maria's Mon, is coming off a two-length allowance win at Belmont on Sept. 12 at 6 1/2 furlongs. He has yet to win beyond that distance.