02/03/2005 1:00AM

Rush Bay targets return

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Lou Hodges Jr.
The Beter Man Can wins the Tiffany Lass. She will run next in the Silverbulletday.

NEW ORLEANS - Trainer Tom Amoss intends to run his promising 3-year-old colt Rush Bay, coming off a winter freshening, in the Risen Star Stakes next Saturday. In the final start of his 2-year-old campaign, Rush Bay finished second in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes on Nov. 27 at Churchill Downs.

The Risen Star looks like a tough spot for a seasonal debut, but if you're looking down the road toward the spring classics, it may well be the perfect place to begin a campaign.

"Rush Bay is out of a family bred for distance," said Amoss. "We felt he was going to be a good distance horse before his first start."

Rush Bay is a son of Cozzene out of the Deputy Minister mare Seoul. He ran third in a sprint at Arlington Park in his debut, then finished second in the slop at Keeneland in his first start around two turns. After drawing off impressively to notch his maiden victory at Churchill Downs going 1 1/16 miles, Rush Bay jumped into Grade 2 company in the $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club. Though he was shut off during a troubled trip, Rush Bay still managed a dramatic rally for second.

"His best races were his last two, both distance races," said Amoss. "After the [Kentucky Jockey Club] we decided to give him the time off and treat him like a good horse, bring him back for the spring races, and see where he fits in."

The Beter Man Can to go in Silverbulletday

Trainer Pat Mouton said the decision has been made to keep The Beter Man Can at Fair Grounds for the Grade 3, $150,000 Silverbulletday next Saturday rather than take her to Delta Downs to run against Louisiana-breds in the Starlet on Louisiana Premier Night.

"We thought it was the best thing to do for the horse," said Mouton.

Passing on the apparently easier spot against Louisiana-breds makes sense based on the development of The Beter Man Can, who won the Tiffany Lass Stakes in her last out.

"She's very good right now," said Mouton. "She turned in a very good work last Sunday," he said, referring to a five-furlong work in 1:02, "and will work once more over the weekend. It's been raining here so I'll wait and see what the track condition is like before I decide which day to work her."

Mouton said he is convinced The Beter Man Can's victory in open company was no fluke.

"She's certainly better than the ones that are here; she's already proved that," said Mouton. "I don't know who's shipping in, but it doesn't matter, because the decision has been made."

Enduring Will, who finished second in the Tiffany Lass in her first start since October, will take on The Beter Man Can again in the Silverbulletday.

"She should improve," said trainer Al Stall. Jr.

Steve Asmussen will saddle 3-year-old filly Summerly in the Silverbulletday after watching her destroy an allowance field by 9 3/4 lengths Jan. 17 at Fair Grounds.

Marquez gets two-week suspension

The Fair Grounds stewards handed jockey Carlos Marquez Jr. a 14-day suspension Thursday after reviewing tapes of last Sunday's fourth race, in which Chelsey's Bid, part of a Gamaliel Vazquez-trained entry, was clear in deep stretch when Marquez abruptly stopped riding and was caught by Prime Queen. After meeting with Marquez, who explained that the tongue of the belt buckle securing his irons snapped off, the stewards issued the suspension "for easing up an apparent winner prior to the finish."

Despite the extenuating circumstances, Marquez decided not to appeal the suspension and will begin serving it Sunday.