03/22/2007 12:00AM

Roman tries unique way to market a stallion

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Lawrence the Roman, a 3-year-old son of Point Given who briefly flirted with the Triple Crown trail, has been retired after developing a problem in a knee, his connections said Thursday.

Lawrence the Roman will attract a lot of interest as a stallion, not because of his race record or his pedigree, but because of a unique concept his owner, Lawrence Roman, plans to put together.

Roman said that he will pay people to breed to Lawrence the Roman, provided he approves of the mare.

"If it's a mare approved by me, I'd be willing to pay $2,500 to $10,000," said Roman, who added that he would breed a couple of his own mares to Lawrence the Roman. "If I think a mare has the right bloodlines, then it's worth it to me. Someone can make money and keep the horse. I don't think it's ever been done before."

Roman said he is doing this because he wants to give Lawrence the Roman an opportunity to be as good a stallion as possible. Lawrence the Roman is a New York-bred son of Point Given who won 3 of 4 career starts.

Roman said the horse would stand in New York at Blue Chip Farms in Wallkill.

The decision to retire the horse was made after he showed signs of a problem following a recent workout.

"He hadn't been training good," trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said. "He's got a problem that I could see coming. I told the owner I think we should just stop on him. He could come back. I don't know if he would actually be what he was."

Roman bred Lawrence the Roman, but he put him through an auction to dissolve a partnership. After failing to buy him at one sale, Roman bought him at a 2-year-old auction last year.

Lawrence the Roman won his first three starts - all against New York-breds - by more than 25 lengths, including an 11-length score in the Damon Runyon Stakes last December. Lawrence the Roman was made a separate betting interest in the first pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager in February. After running a poor fifth in the Whirlaway Stakes on Feb. 10, Lawrence the Roman went off at 35-1 in Pool 1. He was dropped from Pool 2.

Before the Whirlaway, Roman sold half of Lawrence the Roman to International Equine Acquisitions Holdings Inc. After the Whirlaway, Roman voided the deal and returned the money to IEAH.P

Liquor Cabinet nursing bruised foot

Liquor Cabinet, who scratched out of the New Orleans Handicap the morning of the race, is recovering from a deep-seated foot bruise at the Rood and Riddle Equine Clinic in Lexington, Ky.

Dutrow, Liquor Cabinet's trainer, said he vanned Liquor Cabinet from New Orleans to Rood and Riddle so that Dr. Larry Bramlage could evaluate the horse. Dutrow said Bramlage told him the horse would need a couple of weeks away from the track, but should be able to resume training after that. Dutrow said Bramlage is scheduled to reevaluate the horse next week.

"If that's good, he'll be back in my barn that day and I'll train him up to the Westchester, which is fine with me," said Dutrow, referring to the Grade 3, $100,000 race at Belmont Park on May 2.

Liquor Cabinet, a 6-year-old son of Hennessy, had won two straight races, including a nine-length romp in the Grade 3 Aqueduct Handicap on Jan. 20. Because he ran such a huge race - he earned a 109 Beyer Speed Figure - Dutrow gave Liquor Cabinet almost two months between scheduled starts.

"We would have loved for him to have gone into the race the right way," Dutrow said.

Gilchrist may be back

While the Northern California-based trainer Greg Gilchrist is in town this weekend to run his top sprinting filly, Victorina, in Saturday's Grade 2 Distaff Breeders Cup Handicap, he may be returning next month with his top male sprinter.

Gilchrist said he is considering shipping Smokey Stover to Aqueduct for the Grade 1, $300,000 Carter Handicap here on April 7. Gilchrist is also considering the Grade 2, $200,000 Portrero Grande at Santa Anita the same day. If Gilchrist feels the horse needs one more week, he would point to the Grade 3, $150,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park on April 13.

"We'll see how we're treated in the weights and make some kind of decision," Gilchrist said.

Smokey Stover is 3 for 3 this year, including victories in the Sunshine Millions Sprint at Santa Anita and the Bay Meadows Breeders' Cup Sprint Handicap on March 11.

* The stewards fined Eibar Coa $1,000 for misjudging the finish line aboard Bookmaster in Wednesday's eighth race. Coa did not stand up on his mount before the wire, but he appeared to stop riding vigorously and was beaten a nose for second by Bold Mon.