01/30/2008 1:00AM

Roman Emperor coming for Whirlaway

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Thirty-six hours after Roman Emperor finished third as the favorite in the Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct, trainer Steve Klesaris said he would most likely skip the Whirlaway Stakes and look for a race at a longer distance.

But after looking at his options, Klesaris has decided to alter course and instead will ship Roman Emperor back to New York for Saturday's $100,000 Whirlaway Stakes, hoping for a better trip and result.

"He's definitely looking for more ground. Unfortunately there isn't a lot available," Klesaris said from his base at Fair Hill, Md.

Klesaris added that the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds on Feb. 9 "is shaping up to be a pretty strong race. I don't see the point to go all the way to Louisiana when I can go two hours down the road."

The Whirlaway and Risen Star are both run at 1 1/16 miles.

Roman Emperor was sent off the favorite in the Count Fleet off two open-length victories at Philadelphia Park. After breaking a step slowly in the race, Roman Emperor was wide and between horses early on. He attempted to rally in the stretch, but finished third, 3 1/2 lengths behind Giant Moon.

"He didn't break good, he was further back than he wanted to be, and it was a difficult track to make up ground on," Klesaris said. "They went 1-2 all the way around the track."

Roman Emperor has breezed once since the Count Fleet, a five-furlong move in 1:01 over the synthetic surface at Fair Hill on Jan. 23.

"He's ready to rock," Klesaris said. "I wish we had more ground to run, but we got what we got."

With Giant Moon skipping the Whirlaway, as many as nine horses are under consideration for the race. Apple Special, Atta Boy Andy, Barrier Reef, Cave's Valley, Roman Emperor, Spanky Fischbein, and Texas Wildcatter are definite. Malibu Kid and Titan of Industry are possible.

Aliysa heads Squan Song

Coming off a tough-beat second in the $82,200 Affectionately Handicap three weeks ago, Aliysa looms the one to beat in Friday's $65,000 Squan Song, an overnight stakes for fillies and mares at a mile and 70 yards over the inner track.

Aliysa, trained by Todd Pletcher, made the pace in the Affectionately, but was run down late by Stage Luck, who was winning her third consecutive race. Before the Affectionately, Aliysa had won a third-level allowance race in the slop at Philadelphia Park.

Aliysa is 4 for 5 over wet surfaces and rain is in the forecast for Friday.

Ramon Dominguez, aboard for the Affectionately, is back on for the Squan Song.

A wet track doesn't figure to bother Dinner Break, who won two consecutive races in the slop late last year before finishing last of eight in the Affectionately. Trainer Mark Hennig said he didn't have a plausible excuse for the Affectionately, but is reuniting Dinner Break with jockey Alan Garcia, who was aboard for the filly's two previous wins. Dinner Break will be coupled with Morning Gallop, who is 0 for 7 over the inner track.

Ever and Anon won her only off-track start and looks like the main speed from the rail under Rajiv Maragh.

Multiple Choice retired

Multiple Choice, a multiple Grade 3 winner in his youth, has been retired after several losses at the $7,500 claiming level, trainer Joe Imperio said.

"He's 10 years old, he ran third a couple of times for $7,500, and he's supposed to beat $7,500 claimers," Imperio said. "He retires sound, and I didn't want to hurt the horse."

Multiple Choice is a gelded son of Mt. Livermore who was bred by Peter Blum. Blum campaigned the horse earlier this decade, winning the Sport Page and Gravesend, both Grade 3 sprints in 2002, and the Grade 3 Japur on turf in 2004.

Later that year, Multiple Choice was claimed for $100,000 by Patrick Reynolds. He would also run for Bob Klesaris and then Imperio.

Multiple Choice retires with a record of 9-16-13 from 74 starts and earnings of $692,450.

Run With the Lark a pleasant surprise

Though trainer Richard Schosberg and owner Al Fried Jr. are concentrating on bigger things with their 3-year-old Giant Moon, they certainly got a kick out of their 6-year-old Run With the Lark winning Sunday's $66,750 Turnofthecentury Stakes.

"If you went down the shed row and said which one of these horses would win a stakes, I would have walked right past his stall," Schosberg said. "And then he jumps up and wins one. Well deserved."

Run With the Lark, a 6-year-old son of Runaway Groom, was running for a $20,000 claiming price last winter. It took him eight attempts to clear the second-level New York-bred allowance condition. After finishing last in the Alex M. Robb Handicap, Run With the Lark came back 17 days later to run a bang-up second in an open company allowance. His stakes win came on 11 days' rest.

Schosberg said he would point Run With the Lark to the Master Digby for New York-breds on Feb. 18.