02/14/2005 12:00AM

Rematch in desert?

Saint Liam, winner of the Donn, will race next in either the Dubai World Cup or the Santa Anita Handicap.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Roses in May, who finished second behind Saint Liam in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap earlier this month, may not have to wait long for a rematch. The pair could be on a collision course to meet again in the Dubai World Cup on March 26.

Trainer Dale Romans confirmed Monday that his itinerary has not changed for Roses in May, who has been pointing for the World Cup since arriving in south Florida earlier this winter. His colleague, Richard Dutrow Jr., says no decision has been made for Saint Liam's next start, but that it will come either in Dubai or the Santa Anita Handicap on March 5.

"We're definitely going to Dubai," Romans said. "I left Roses in May down here after the Donn rather than return him to Palm Meadows because I have a few sick horses up there and didn't want to take the chance he would get it, too.

"Naturally I was disappointed we didn't win the Donn but it's certainly no disgrace getting beat by a horse the caliber of Saint Liam. Maybe I didn't have the screws quite as tight as I thought for that race."

Dutrow said Saint Liam came out of the Donn well and that he's waiting for the horse's owners, Susan and William Warren Jr., to make a decision on whether to go to Dubai.

"He's supposed to breeze again on the 19th so we'll probably have a decision by then," said Dutrow. "But he'll be ready for either spot."

Roses in May and Saint Liam are part of an outstanding contingent of older handicap horses training this winter in south Florida. The leader of the group, reigning Horse of the Year Ghostzapper, moved another step closer to his return when he worked five furlongs in 100.80 at Palm Meadows on Monday. A stablemate, Grade 3 Hal's Hope winner Badge of Silver, breezed an easy six furlongs over the same strip in 1:16.20 the previous morning. Badge of Silver is pointing for the New Orleans Handicap.

Funny Cide continues to progress slowly toward his 2005 debut. The winner of the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, Funny Cide was given some time off by trainer Barclay Tagg following the Breeders' Cup Classic and continues to jog and canter more than two miles daily at Gulfstream.

"Right now I'm just trying to put plenty of miles under him," said Tagg. "He'll tell us when he's ready to start galloping again."

What's next for Wanderin Boy?

One horse who is rising fast in the division is Wanderin Boy, who upset Pollard's Vision when making just his fourth career start in Saturday's Grade 3 Mineshaft Handicap at Fair Grounds.

"That was pretty impressive, beating a horse like Pollard's Vision coming off a first-level allowance win," said trainer Nick Zito. "It was an unusual kind of performance from a horse who has done some highly unusual things since we've gotten him here."

Zito said he is undecided on whether he will send Wanderin Boy back to Fair Grounds for the New Orleans Handicap March 12.

Forest Danger sets track record

Forest Danger, making his first start since suffering his only setback, at the hands of Medallist in the Grade 3 Withers last May 1, obliterated the 6 1/2-furlong track record en route to a 9 1/2-length victory over Primary Suspect in Monday's $39,000 allowance feature.

With jockey John Velazquez sitting chilly for much of the race, Forest Danger set the pace then pulled away with complete authority in the stretch. He covered the distance in 1:14.44, more than a second faster than the old mark, set by Medallist in the Deputy Minister Handicap on Feb. 5. Forest Danger was scratched out of the Deputy Minister by trainer Todd Pletcher the morning of the race.

A couple of Oaks candidates

Trainer John Ward is president of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association. But he may be pinning his hopes on winning this year's Kentucky Oaks on a Florida-bred, Little Money Down, who outgamed Bird Harbor on Sunday in one of the better first-level allowance races for 3-year-old fillies to be run here this winter.

Ward purchased Little Money Down privately for owner John Oxley after she earned a 96 Beyer Speed Figure winning her maiden at Aqueduct in her final start at 2.

"She did everything wrong in her first race then ran extremely well the second time and not only got a big Beyer but that was a key race," Ward said.

The horse who finished third to Little Money Down in that maiden race, Amazing Buy, has come back to win the Busanda at Aqueduct and last weekend's Wide Country at Laurel.

Ward knows something about winning the Oaks with a non-Kentucky bred. He and Oxley combined with the Canadian-bred Gal in a Ruckus to upset the 1995 Oaks.

"We're expecting big things from her," said Ward. "She'll relax, has a high cruising speed, and a good kick once she gets on her right lead. Hopefully she'll be our Oaks filly."

Zito was also encouraged by the performance of Bird Harbor.

"She's out of Dearest Gulch, and I really like her family," said Zito, who trains Bird Harbor for Mary Lou Whitney. "We got a bargain getting her for $85,000. When the overnight came out I told John [Ward] it was a shame these two fillies had to wind up in the same allowance race, and sure enough they finished 11 1/2 lengths ahead of the rest of the field. In a perfect world I would like to get a race for her at a mile the next time."

Zito's other potential Oaks prospect, In the Gold, a well-beaten second behind Sis City in the Davona Dale Stakes on Feb. 5, breezed an easy half-mile in 1:02.80 at Gulfstream on Monday and will make her next start in the Grade 2 Bonnie Miss on March 5.

* Society Selection worked five-eighths in 59.20 seconds at Gulfstream on Monday. She will be the starting highweight under 120 pounds if she runs, as expected, in Saturday's Grade 3 Shirley Jones Handicap.