12/09/2002 12:00AM

'Sandy' can hit $2M


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Already the richest New York-bred in history, Say Florida Sandy will try to surpass the $2 million mark in career earnings Wednesday when he runs in a $54,000 classified allowance race at Aqueduct.

He enters the race, his 91st career start, with earnings of $1,971,455. A victory would catapult him past $2 million. Say Florida Sandy, an 8-year-old son of Personal Flag, has 31 victories, including several graded stakes. But there has been little interest from New York breeders in standing Say Florida Sandy as a stallion, making hitting the $2 million mark somewhat insignificant to owner John Rotella.

"It doesn't mean too much, but it's an accomplishment," Rotella said. "It doesn't enhance his stallion value, because there isn't any."

Listening to Rotella, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Rotella said Say Florida Sandy, about to turn 9, is healthy both physically and mentally and will keep on racing as long as he shows the desire. Rotella said a good performance Wednesday could earn Say Florida Sandy a start in the Gravesend Handicap on Dec. 26. Say Florida Sandy won the Gravesend in 1998 and 2000.

Say Florida Sandy is coming off a gutsy neck victory over True Direction in a classified allowance race on Nov. 8 over Aqueduct's main track. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 107, the third time this year he hit that mark. True Direction came back to win the Fall Highweight Handicap at Aqueduct on Thanksgiving Day.

Rotella said he didn't even nominate Say Florida Sandy to the Fall Highweight because the horse has not fared well running with a lot of weight.

Carrying 125 pounds, Rotella said, Say Florida Sandy "just shuts down. It's like he protects himself."

Rotella said his main concern is the weather. Say Florida Sandy is 0 for 9 over a wet track and rain is in the forecast for Wednesday, though it may hold off until after the races.

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. has entered both Big E E and Late Carson in the six-furlong race, but may run only one, as he named John Velazquez on both.

Late Carson, who hasn't run in 12 weeks, drew nicely on the outside. Big E E comes off a six-place finish in the Grade 3 Sport Page Handicap on Oct. 26 run over a sloppy track.

Singe Me Back Home drops back to six furlongs after finishing third in the Sport Page.

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