02/21/2003 12:00AM

Say Florida Sandy won't take to wet track


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - An extra week between starts can be viewed as a positive for Say Florida Sandy, a 9-year-old who usually benefits from his races being spaced. The negative is that the $75,000-added Hollie Hughes Handicap is rescheduled for Sunday, and heavy rain is expected for the first portion of the weekend and Say Florida Sandy doesn't care for wet tracks.

Say Florida Sandy's trainer, Victor Cuadra, said he would scratch the 122-pound highweight if the track is wet.

The six-furlong Hollie Hughes for New York-breds was scheduled for last Sunday, but was canceled when racing was scrapped after the first race because of frigid temperatures.

The Hollie Hughes was open to its original nominees and redrawn on Friday with a field of eight. The original entrants all returned, plus Conman Cunningham.

Say Florida Sandy, who won the 2001 Hollie Hughes for owner John Rotella, finished second in his last start, the Paumonok on Jan. 25, and went over $2 million in earnings. In 10 starts on wet tracks, Say Florida Sandy has failed to win.

"Actually, the extra week is not good for us because of the rain expected," Cuadra said Friday. "An extra week is always nice, but we have to be careful with Sandy. It's not worth it to run him if it's muddy or sloppy."

Mike Luzzi has been named on Say Florida Sandy, who drew post 8.

Mike Hushion, trainer of Hollie Hughes entrant Papua, has a different take on the postponement of the stakes. Papua, a winner of his last three starts, all in open allowance races, is 3 for 3 on wet tracks.

"[The forecast] sounds good to me," said Hushion, who is enjoying a strong Aqueduct inner-track meet. "It might hurt one or two of them in there."

With the Hollie Hughes being delayed, Hushion worked Papua, who is owned by New York Racing Association chairman Barry Schwartz, on Wednesday. A Louis Quartorze colt, he covered a half-mile in a bullet 48.04 seconds.

Richard Migliore rides Papua from post 6.

Tom's Thunder, third in the Paumonok, appears to prefer a fast track. A 5-year-old, he won the restricted Alex M. Robb around two turns earlier in the meet, but is also suited to sprints. One of Tom's Thunder's best efforts came in last year's six-furlong Hudson Handicap when he finished second to Well Fancied.

Vodka, last year's Hollie Hughes winner, hasn't won in five starts since. He gets blinkers on for the Hollie Hughes. Impeachthepro, a winner of half of his 30 career starts, moves up on wet tracks.

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