05/23/2001 11:00PM

Schosberg's preference: Sloppy over boggy


ELMONT, N.Y. - Although trainer Richard Schosberg has secured the services of a top turf rider in Jerry Bailey to ride Affirmed Success in Sunday's $100,000 Jaipur Handicap, Schosberg said he would almost prefer the race be switched to the main track.

Affirmed Success is a graded stakes winner on both dirt and turf. However, after several days of rain this week, Schosberg said he is leery of running Affirmed Success on soft turf in his first start since November.

"I don't want him to strain himself first off a layoff on a course that may not be suited for him," Schosberg said. "Right now I might prefer running over a sloppy track than a bog." Schosberg said he wouldn't run Affirmed Success in the seven-furlong Jaipur "if I don't think the turf is conducive to his best interests."

According to track superintendent Don Orlando, both Belmont turf courses have absorbed 2 1/2 inches of rain the last week. He said that without any more rain, the course will be utilized on Sunday. However, if it continues to rain, turf racing may be canceled until next week.

Schosberg said the wet weather forced him to cancel a workout for Affirmed Success, but he believes he has him fit enough to run seven furlongs on either surface.

If the race remains on turf, Affirmed Success will carry top weight of 121 pounds. If it's moved to the dirt, he'll carry 123.

Pletcher duo works for Met Mile

Trippi and Left Bank, who both will be saddled by trainer Todd Pletcher in Monday's Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, worked five furlongs Thursday in 1:01.65 in company over Belmont Park's sloppy track.

While Pletcher said he would have preferred not to have worked them over a wet track, he said he needed to get a work into both horses.

"Fortunately, they both seemed to handle it well and got over it smoothly," Pletcher said. "I didn't want them to go much faster than 1:01 regardless of what the track was like."

Traditionally, another Met Mile hopeful, breezed a half-mile in 49.02 seconds over the main track. He galloped out five furlongs in 1:02. Trainer Shug McGaughey said that if the track came up wet-fast on Monday, "there's a good chance I'll scratch him. If it's sealed the way it has been the last few days, we'll probably run."

The Met Mile lost a potential starter when the connections of Hollycombe informed NYRA officials he would not be shipping in from California for the race.

Vena switches trainers

James Vena, who races horses under the name Southbelle Stable, has transferred his horses from trainer Tony Stabile to Pat Reynolds.

Vena would not go into specifics why he made the change, but he said it appears Stabile has some personal problems. Stabile could not be reached for comment Thursday.

"I think he's got some problems; those problems have nothing to do with me or anything like that," said Vena, who owned 1999 Preakness third-place finisher Badge. "I made the decision [Wednesday] morning when I heard there were some problems. It's not the kind of way Southbelle or myself conducts business."

Vena had three horses entered on Thursday's program at Belmont that were listed as being trained by Stabile. All three were scratched.

Reynolds, who has earned plaudits for turning Peeping Tom from a claimer to a Grade 1 winner, becomes the third trainer in the last six months to work for Vena, who also employed Allen Jerkens.

Barbara learned his lesson

Trainer Bob Barbara admits to getting caught up in the Belmont Stakes hype after Jamies First Punch won the 1996 Peter Pan Stakes under his care. He doesn't plan to make the same mistake with Dayton Flyer, who makes his second start of the year in Saturday's Peter Pan Stakes.

While Barbara did not rule out running Dayton Flyer back in the Belmont should he win Saturday, Barbara said he won't sacrifice the horse's future to run in the race.

"I'm thinking about other things for him down the road,'' said Barbara, who brought back Dayton Flyer from a foot injury. "Jamies First Punch, he beat Unbridled's Song in the Peter Pan and he finished up the track in the Belmont. I got involved in all the hype and I had no horse left. He was done. He never raced competitively again."

Dayton Flyer, who finished fourth behind A P Valentine in last October's Champagne Stakes, made a winning 3-year-old debut in a seven-furlong allowance race on May 10.

"Going from seven-eighths to a mile and an eighth in two weeks, that might be a bit much," Barbara said. "If he's 100 percent fit, I think he'll handle it."

* Dat You Miz Blue, sixth in the Bed o' Roses Breeders' Cup Handicap last time out, is entered in a $52,000 money allowance race at six furlongs on Saturday's card. The race could serve as a prep for the $100,000 Vagrancy Handicap here on June 16.

* Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos, a bit tired from his ship from Pimlico Wednesday, walked the shed row on his first day at Belmont Park Thursday.