04/05/2002 12:00AM

Rain or shine, Cellars Shiraz is fine


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Some trainers may fret and spend endless hours watching The Weather Channel before running a horse in a turf stakes. But it's a cinch Bill Cesare will not lose any sleep before he sends out Cellars Shiraz in Sunday's $75,000 Via Borghese Stakes.

Rain or shine, turf or dirt, Cellars Shiraz will be a heavy favorite to add the Via Borghese to her victories earlier in the meet in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride and the Gaily Gaily stakes. A daughter of Kissin Kris and Cellar's Best, Cellars Shiraz rallied from just off the pace to upset August Storm in the Herecomesthebride on the turf. She was even more impressive four weeks later when she led throughout and won the Gaily Gaily, a race taken off the grass and decided on the main track, by almost six lengths.

"I think she's a better horse on turf than dirt, but she's versatile enough to run well on either," said Cesare, who trains Cellars Shiraz for the Bitterroot Investments Inc.

Cornelio Velasquez, the hottest rider around over the past week, will be aboard Cellars Shiraz, who will carry high weight of 122 pounds under the allowance conditions of the 1 1/8-mile Via Borghese.

Two who finished behind Cellars Shiraz in the Herecomesthebride, Dame Sylvieguilhem and Kathy K D, face her again Sunday.

Dame Sylvieguilhem had a two-race win streak snapped when finishing a troubled fourth making her stakes debut in the Herecomesthebride. Dame Sylvieguilhem, a stretch-running daughter of Nureyev, trailed early after bumping and clipping heels following the start, then finished full of run despite angling extremely wide into the stretch. Mike McCarthy picks up the call from trainer Bill Mott.

Kathy K D defeated Cellars Shiraz in a second-level allowance earlier in the meet but could not overcome trouble when she finished seventh in the Herecomesthebride. Stakes-placed twice at 2, Kathy K D will again have the services of Eibar Coa, who rode her to a second-place finish in Calder's Hollywood Wildcat Stakes in December.

The hottest horse in the field is Weepnomoremylady, who has won three straight. Claimed for $50,000 out of a main-track victory by trainer Charles Harvatt earlier in the meet, Weepnomoremylady's last two wins came on turf, including an entry-level allowance race on March 9.

Ciudad De Carson, who broke awkwardly in her only previous turf race, figures to provide Cellars Shiraz with an early pace challenge if she leaves the gate cleanly. Always Country has yet to run a bad race in four starts on grass, although this is her first stakes on the turf.

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