10/18/2007 11:00PM

Shobiz gets green light and Velazquez

EmailNobiz Like Shobiz's owner Elizabeth Valando already has forked over $20,000 in pre-entry fees for the Breeders' Cup Mile, and trainer Barclay Tagg said Friday morning it was likely the colt's connections also would put up the additional $30,000 required to actually enter on Tuesday.

That had been no sure thing earlier in the week.

"We're leaning toward going right now," Tagg said. "We wanted to take a look at it and see."

Also, Nobiz Like Shobiz's rider for the last two races, Javier Castellano, already had accepted the mount on BC Mile runner Trippi's Storm, whom Castellano rode to victory in the Kelso Handicap. Tagg had expressed some concern over finding another rider, but on Friday said he had secured the services of John Velazquez. Velazquez has never ridden Nobiz Like Shobiz, and Tagg said he was scheduled to work Nobiz Like Shobiz in his final BC breeze on Tuesday at Belmont.

Nobiz Like Shobiz was one of the leading Kentucky Derby contenders over the winter, and won the Wood Memorial Handicap in his final Derby prep, but in the big race itself he struggled home 10th. Tagg gave Nobiz Like Shobiz one more dirt start, a distant second-place finish to Any Given Saturday in the Dwyer Stakes, and then shifted his focus to grass racing.

"I just thought I'd see if he liked the turf because it might be a little bit easier on him," said Tagg. "Once he couldn't win the Derby, I didn't see the point of pounding him on dirt."

After Nobiz Like Shobiz's four-length victory - perhaps his career-best race - in the Oct. 6 Jamaica Handicap, Tagg expressed an interest in going to the Hollywood Derby. But soon, he began mulling a run in the Mile.

"The Hollywood Derby is a really, really nice race, but even if you win it, you don't get any accolades," Tagg said. "The [Mile] started to look more and more interesting if we thought if we had a shot to win it."

Lahudood shows zip on main track

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin worked both of his Breeders' Cup horses Friday morning at Belmont Park and if you didn't know any better you would think Lahudood was running in the $2 million Distaff and Lear's Princess was headed for the $2omillion Filly and Mare Turf.

While Lear's Princess worked an easy half-mile in 49.96 seconds, Lahudood zipped right over Belmont's main track in a five-furlong move timed by Daily Racing Form in 59.86 seconds. Under exercise rider Renzo Morales, Lahudood cut out fractions of 11.89 seconds, 22.83, 34.81, and 46.94.

"She trains a little bit like that,'' McLaughlin said. "She pulls in the morning when she gallops, she's a little bit of a handful and she can work fast.''

Lahudood, owned by Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell Stable, earned her shot to run in the Filly and Mare Turf with a powerful off-the-pace victory in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont on Sept. 29. Lahudood was subbing for Makderah, a Grade 2 winner who was retired with an injury before the Flower Bowl. Lahudood bounced back from a last-place finish in the Grade 1 Beverly D. at Arlington in August. While the Flower Bowl was run on firm turf, the Beverly D. was run over "good'' ground.

"Sheikh Hamdan after the Beverly D. said throw the race out, she does not like it soft,'' McLaughlin said. "He's a very good student of the game and knows racing very well. He kept telling me she was better than Makderah. I just didn't see it because Makderah trained so well.''

Corinthian looks sharp in workout

Even if Commentator and Forefathers opt for their listed first preference, the BC Sprint, plenty of speed will still remain in what would become a field of nine for the inaugural BC Dirt Mile on Friday. Wanderin Boy, Gottcha Gold, High Finance, and Discreet Cat are among the core of speedsters in a speed-laden race.

A fast pace may or may not favor a stalker or closer, but in any case, Jimmy Jerkens has one of the potential closers, Corinthian, sitting on go. Friday morning, Jerkens sent out Corinthian for his main pre-Breeders' Cup workout on the Belmont training track, and the colt responded with a six-furlong drill in 1:11.75.

"He was good and strong all the way," said Jerkens. "We figured Monmouth was a tight-turned track, and we might as well work him on a tight-turned track."

Both Monmouth and the Belmont training track are a mile in circumference.

Corinthian posted a lifetime high Beyer Speed Figure of 108 in winning the Grade 1 Met Mile in late May at Belmont. But unlike at Belmont, where mile races are run around one turn, the Dirt Mile will be run this year around two turns, and because of the Monmouth track configuration, the race actually will be run at a mile and 70 yards.

In the Dirt Mile, Jerkens said he just wants Corinthian to break with the field before settling into a comfortable stride. The early strategy in two-turn races can differ from one-turn races, and "sometimes you get shuffled back on the [first] turn and you lose position, especially if you don't break that sharp, which he doesn't," said Jerkens.

Corinthian will be trying to rebound off two disappointing races in his only outings since the Met Mile: He was beaten double-digit lengths when sixth in the Suburban in June and fourth in the Woodward in early September. A Pulpit colt owned by Centennial Farms, Corinthian is scheduled to take the short van ride from Belmont to Monmouth either Sunday or Monday, said Jerkens.

Shirreffs high on Tiago

Trainer John Shirreffs is usually circumspect with his comments, but he has been increasingly bullish on Tiago in recent weeks.

Tiago, who beat older horses when taking the Goodwood Stakes in his last start, had his final work for the BC Classic on Friday morning at Hollywood Park, where he was timed in 1:25 for seven furlongs on Cushion Track.

Tiago earlier this year won the Santa Anita Derby, and this summer won the Swaps Stakes. But Shirreffs said he thinks he is even better now.

"Along with his physical maturity, he's developing mentally," Shirreffs said. "He's starting to become a real serious racehorse."

Tiago was scheduled to fly to New Jersey on Saturday, one week before he starts in the Classic at Monmouth Park. He was to be accompanied by stablemate After Market, who runs in the BC Mile.

Street Sense arrives

Street Sense, the Kentucky Derby winner, arrived at Monmouth early Friday morning after an overnight van ride from his base at Churchill Downs.

The Classic is expected to be the final career start for Street Sense, who is the only horse to win the BC Juvenile and the Derby. He also won the Travers Stakes this summer at Saratoga.

Trainer Carl Nafzger said Street Sense would have his final workout for the Classic at Monmouth on either Tuesday or Wednesday, with Tuesday preferred.

"He'll go five furlongs on Tuesday, or a half-mile on Wednesday," Nafzger said.

* The acclaimed documentary "The First Saturday in May" will be shown on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Clearview Cinemas in Red Bank, N.J., only minutes from Monmouth Park. The documentary follows several prospects, including Barbaro, up to and including the 2006 Kentucky Derby. Information: 732-747-0335.

- additional reporting

by David Grening, Marty McGee, and Jay Privman