07/20/2007 12:00AM

Shipman hinges on 'Account'


ELMONT, N.Y. - Gary Contessa could play the role of Scrooge or Santa Claus when it comes to Sunday's $100,000 Evan Shipman Stakes, the closing day feature at Belmont Park.

Contessa has already clinched his first Belmont spring-summer meet trainer title and would be heavily favored to add to his win total if Accountforthegold runs in the Shipman, a 1 1/16-mile dirt race restricted to New York-breds. While Contessa has entered the speedy son of Successful Appeal in the Shipman, he is torn between running here or waiting for next Saturday's Grade 1 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga.

Contessa said he and owner Steve Sigler would decide whether to run Accountforthegold, who would carry 126 pounds and spot his five rivals 9 to 11 pounds.

"The Whitney's pulling my right arm, the Evan Shipman is pulling my left," said Contessa, who also is pointing Papi Chullo to the Whitney. "I have a back-up with Building New Era on short rest. It's a decision Steve and I are going to have to make after entries are out. We're carrying a lot of weight. He's going to be entered, but he's no cinch to run."

If he runs, Accountforthegold would be an odds-on choice breaking from the rail under Mike Luzzi. He has won 4 of his last 7 starts, including a 9 1/4-length romp in the Gander Stakes on June 24, a race in which he demonstrated an ability to rate.

"It's not a new dimension," Contessa said. "He will rate and he's always been a good rater, but he's been such the best speed horse in the race that I'm not going to take that away from him either."

If Contessa scratches Accountforthegold, he would run Building New Era, who comes back 10 days after finishing last in a turf experiment gone awry. He also would be making a lot of horsemen very happy.

John Terranova, trainer of Who What Win, would love to see Accountforthegold scratch because it could leave his horse as the main speed. Who What Win enters the Shipman off a last-place finish to Tom Fool Stakes winner High Finance in an open-company allowance race.

"It's a mystery, I don't know what happened," Terranova said of Who What Win's last race. "Maybe the pace was too hot early. He's been training up a storm, he looks great. Aside from him taking on Accountforthegold I think he's ready to run a big race."