03/03/2003 12:00AM

Senor Swinger in swift work

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Senor Swinger, unbeaten in two starts, drilled six furlongs in 1:11.80 Sunday morning in preparation for the Florida Derby on March 15. It was the fastest of three works at the distance.

According to trainer Mickey Goldfine, Senor Swinger broke off in company with a stablemate and pulled away at the quarter pole.

"It was just him, he did it pretty easy," said Goldfine, who had exercise rider Derek Sturniolo up for the move. "The kid wasn't pushing on him, and he galloped out good."

Goldfine on Monday said Senor Swinger came out of the work in good order and may breeze three furlongs or a half-mile three or four days before the race.

"He's right where I want him to be mentally and physically," Goldfine said.

As of Monday, there were five horses considered definite for the Florida Derby: Trust N Luck, Supah Blitz, Midway Cat, Empire Maker, and Senor Swinger. Indy Dancer was listed as probable.

Pletcher 3-year-olds work

Lion Tamer, the dominant winner of the Hutcheson Stakes, worked five furlongs Monday morning in an easy 1:03.80 at Palm Meadows, his first breeze since the race. Aristocat, who won a 1 1/16-mile entry-level allowance race on that same Feb. 15 card, worked four furlongs in 50.40 seconds Monday as well.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said he is "still leaning toward" the Lane's End with Lion Tamer, the Tampa Bay Derby with Aristocat, and the Florida Derby with Indy Dancer. "But," the trainer said, "I won't make a final decision until after they work again next week.''

Pletcher said Indy Dancer, who ran seventh as the favorite in the Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 7, was to breeze either Tuesday or Wednesday of this week.

Nothing to Lose to run in Lane's End

One Kentucky Derby prospect who will not compete here on Florida Derby Day is Nothing to Lose. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas had considered the Florida Derby for Nothing to Lose's return to the dirt, but instead he will send Nothing to Lose to Turfway for the Lane's End on March 22.

"Several factors went into the decision to skip the Florida Derby," said Mike Maker, Lukas's assistant at Gulfstream Park. "First of all, the race at Turfway looks like an easier spot, the extra time should prove beneficial, and the way the racetrack has been playing here it looks like you need to be up close to win, and that's not his style."

Nothing to Lose is undefeated on grass and comes off a half-length victory in the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes here on Feb. 21. He worked five furlongs over the main track in 1:00.60 here Sunday morning.

"He's always done everything we've asked of him on the dirt," said Maker. "We don't give up anything by trying him on the main track in Kentucky, since there aren't any major turf races for him in March anyway. If he handles it, the options are plenty. If not, we'll know where we stand and can get him back on the grass for the rest of the year."

If there's no Azeri, 'Bertie' may try Apple Blossom

Following Allamerican Bertie's 7 3/4-length victory in Saturday's Rampart Handicap, trainer Steve Flint said he would be quite content to freshen the filly and point her to the $300,000 Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap at Churchill Downs on May 2.

Monday morning, Flint was hedging a little as he watched Allamerican Bertie's coat glisten under the hot Florida sun, saying that the $500,000 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park on April 5 is a possibility, but only if Azeri, the defending Horse of the Year, doesn't show.

"We're thinking about it," Flint said. "It's gone from being completely out of the question to maybe. It's a 50-50 deal. It all hinges on Azeri. I'm not going to run against Azeri."

Flint said Allamerican Bertie had an easier time than he thought she would in the Rampart and could not have come out of the race any better.

"As good as she came out, we'd have to take a look," Flint said. "It's just impossible to pass a $500,000 race if nobody showed. If you're going to be 3-5 for a half-million, it's plain and simple.''

Runnin' on Nitro to Aventura

Runnin' on Nitro, who won a first-level allowance race by five lengths here on Saturday, will try two turns for the first time in the $250,000 Aventura Stakes here at 1 1/16 miles on April 5.

"We're going to see what we've got," said trainer Wesley Ward, who also owns a third of Runnin' on Nitro along with Ron Brewer and John Haagsma. "The way he trains, I don't think distance will be a problem, especially going a mile and a sixteenth."

Runnin' on Nitro, a son of Elusive Quality, ran seven furlongs in 1:21.50 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 94.

Ward, based in Southern California, shipped Runnin' on Nitro to south Florida three days after he finished fourth of five in the Grade 2 San Vicente on Feb. 1 at Santa Anita. Runnin' on Nitro has been training at the Palm Meadows training center some 50 miles north of Gulfstream. Ward said one reason he sent Runnin' on Nitro east was to reunite him with Jorge Chavez, the jockey who rode Runnin' on Nitro to an 8 1/2-length maiden victory at Hollywood Park Dec. 18.

"The jock fits him to a T," Ward said. "I asked him if he thought the horse could stretch out, and he said he couldn't pull him up so that was encouraging. This horse is very, very sound. I look for really, really big things from him."

* Graded stakes winner Union Place rallied to a hard-fought allowance victory in his 2003 debut here Sunday. The win was also the first of the winter for his trainer, Randy Schulhofer.

* Jockey Mark Guidry took off his mounts Saturday and did not accept mounts for Monday and Wednesday because of the death of his brother-in-law over the weekend. Guidry, who rode two winners Sunday for his third multiple-win day in a row, was expected back to ride Thursday.

- additional reporting by Mike Welsch