10/15/2001 11:00PM

'Sandy' may wait to run elsewhere


ELMONT, N.Y. - New York-breds will steal the thunder on Saturday and Sunday at Belmont Park in the New York Showcase Fall Festival, which features a total of seven statebred stakes, worth $1 million.

With top New York-breds Gander and Critical Eye pointing for Breeders' Cup races the following weekend, the only big name for the Showcase races is Say Florida Sandy, a nominee to Sunday's $125,000 Hudson. On Monday, John Rotella, Say Florida Sandy's owner, said there is a possibility he would keep his sprinter out of the Hudson because of the hefty 127-pound impost he was assigned. If Say Florida Sandy skips the Hudson, he could show up in the $75,000 Skip Trial Stakes at The Meadowlands on Friday.

$250,000 Empire Classic

Gander would have been a standout in Sunday's Empire Classic field, but will start instead in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic.

The 120-pound starting highweight will be Scottish Halo, who won an optional claimer at Delaware in his last start. Others pointing to the 1 1/8-mile Classic are John Paul Too (119); No Bad Habits (118); Saratoga Sunrise (118); Personal Pro (115); and Duplicitous (115). Brave One (117) is under consideration for both the Classic and Saturday's $150,000 Mohawk, if rain forced the Mohawk from the turf to the main track. Impeachthepro (117) is under consideration for both the Classic and the Hudson.

Personal Pro worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.13 seconds Tuesday at Saratoga. No Bad Habits worked a half-mile in 47.47 seconds at Belmont.

John Paul Too won the Gen. Douglas MacArthur here on opening day, and then was fourth in his last start, the Ashley T. Cole on Sept. 22, as the favorite.

Richard Migliore, aboard John Paul Too in the Ashley T. Cole, lost his whip in midstretch.

"Losing the whip definitely cost him third," trainer John Kimmel said. "He also was a little flat and didn't run his race and those factors took the edge off him. This looks like a good spot for him."

$150,000 Ticonderoga

Sunday's $150,000 Ticonderoga Handicap likely will draw a large field of filly and mare turf runners. Among the contenders for the 1 1/8-mile grass race are a pair of 3-year-olds - Yaddo winner Ransom's Pride (114 pounds) and Spectaculaireontap (114), a winner of her last four. Polly Jo and Rhum are possible to start.

$150,000 Mohawk

Saturday's $150,000 Mohawk, a 1 1/8-mile grass handicap for 3-year-olds and older horses, is likely to draw a large field. Among those pointing to the Mohawk are West Point winner I'm All Yours, the expected starting highweight at 119 pounds, and Doctor Cat (115), who was third in last year's running. Celtic Sky, an improving 3-year-old from Christophe Clement's barn, gets a weight break and could be threat at 112 pounds.

Doctor Cat, who has suffered from ulcers much of this year, worked a half-mile in 50.17 seconds on the training track Tuesday.

$125,000 Iroquois

Bedside Manner will seek her eighth win from 10 starts in the seven-furlong Iroquois on Saturday. In her stakes debut in her last start, Bedside Manner won the Schenectady by four lengths here on Sept. 23. Bedside Manner was assigned highweight of 122 pounds, along with Cedar Knolls, who also is expected to start. Alley Ball, Astrapi, Belongs to Mony, Broomesse, Eventail, Intransigence, and Maddie May are also probable.

$125,000 Hudson

If he starts, Say Florida Sandy will be the heavy favorite in Sunday's Hudson. Interestingly, Say Florida Sandy has failed to win the Hudson in three previous attempts, twice as the favorite. Also, Sandy's Hudson weight assignment of 127 pounds would be the largest impost he has carried

Others considered probable for the six-furlong Hudson are Vodka (115); Well Fancied (114); Bluesbreaker (113); and Storm the Gate (112). Dolfmeister (114) and Misty Foxfire (114) are likely to start if Sandy is kept out of the Hudson.

$100,000 Sleepy Hollow

Among the 2-year-old colts and geldings pointing to Saturday's Sleepy Hollow, a mile race, is Bongard winner White Ibis and Private Emblem, a 7 1/4-length maiden winner here Sept. 23. White Ibis worked a bullet half-mile in 48.43 seconds over the training track on Tuesday. Private Emblem covered the same distance in 49.45 seconds.

$100,000 Maid of the Mist

With Shesastonecoldfox heading to the Breeders' Cup, Sunday's $100,000 Maid of the Mist, a 2-year-old filly race, lacks a standout. Among the expected runners are Blue's Magee, Dancing Blues, Moonlightandbeauty, Princess Dixie, Private Port, and Totally Selfish. Private Port worked a half-mile in 48.84 seconds on Tuesday.