04/19/2006 11:00PM

Silver Train upset in Met Mile prep

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OZONE PARK, N.Y. - To those who bet Silver Train down to 1-2 favoritism, his second-place finish in a three-horse allowance race Thursday at Aqueduct was quite disappointing. To Richard Dutrow Jr., his trainer, the race was just fine as a prep for next month's Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park on May 29.

"Bottom line, I was happy with his race," Dutrow said. "He ran a good race. It's a good set-up for his next race. As long as he returns to form at Belmont, we're going to be good."

Silver Train won last year's Breeders' Cup Sprint at Belmont Park, a track at which he has won three times from four starts and recorded three triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures. He is 1-for-9 elsewhere.

Although Thursday's race had just a three-horse field, Silver Train did not have the best of trips in the six-furlong race. Ridden by Mike Smith, he broke through the starting gate before the race started. An assistant starter quickly collared him and he was put back in the gate.

When the race did go, Silver Train was buried on the rail while Spooky Mulder set the pace and Primary Suspect raced outside of Silver Train. There was an inviting opening for Silver Train in the stretch, but he was hesitant to go through. Spooky Mulder went on to record a three-quarter-length victory. Silver Train came back to get second by a nose over Primary Suspect. Spooky Mulder ($5.90) ran six furlongs in 1:09.50.

Smith said Silver Train had blood coming from his mouth after breaking through the gate. Smith also said he didn't think Silver Train broke as well as he should have when the gates opened at the start of the race.

Smith said he wanted to get Silver Train to the outside of the other two horses, but Silver Train was lugging in.

"If it was seven-eighths, he would have got them. Not three-quarters," he said. "Those horses are fast enough where if you stub your toe, you're beat."

ESPN wraps up filming of Ruffian

A crew from ESPN's Original Entertainment division spent four days at Belmont Park this week wrapping up the filming of "Ruffian," a movie depicting the career of the multiple champion filly who fatally broke down in a 1975 match race against that year's Kentucky Derby winner, Foolish Pleasure.

The film, which features actor Sam Sheppard as Ruffian's trainer, Frank Whiteley Jr., will debut June 4, 2007 on ABC and air the next night on ESPN. The air date is to coincide with next year's Belmont Stakes, scheduled for June 9. ABC televises the Belmont.

Ron Semiao, senior vice president of ESPN's Original Entertainment division, came up with the idea for a movie on Ruffian because, he said, "it is a good story that will move an audience. We as a network are very much involved in the sport of horse racing, and we felt this was a good movie to do, a good story that will resonate with an audience."

Ruffian won the first 10 starts of her career and was crowned champion 2-year-old filly of 1974 and champion 3-year-old filly of 1975. The match race with Foolish Pleasure brought a crowd of 50,764 to Belmont and was covered live on national television.

"There was an aura about her that hasn't been equaled since," said Yves Simoneau, who directed the film.

The bulk of the racing scenes were shot at Louisiana Downs because, Semiao said, "we needed a location that somewhat resembled what the climate was when the story took place."

The scenes being filmed Thursday at Belmont were of Ruffian's first workout as a 2-year-old after she arrived from Camden, S.C. The funeral for Ruffian, who is buried in the infield at Belmont, was also shot.

Actor Frank Whaley portrays Eclipse Award-winning sportswriter Bill Nack, who chronicled Ruffian's career for Newsday and served as a consultant on this film.

"They've done everything conceivable to make the setting and scenery as accurate as possible," said Nack. "They even used $100 bills that were vintage 1975."

Tony Dutrow to keep New York string

Tony Dutrow, the older brother of Richard, will maintain a 28-horse string in New York this summer. Tony Dutrow had a productive inner-track meet, with 23 wins from 70 starters. He is 0 for 12 since the main track opened, but has had six second-place finishes.

"I'm here because Sandy Goldfarb and Michael Dubb have supported me," said Tony Dutrow of two of his owners. "Things are going well, and they're happy to have me. I'm happy to be here."

Richard Dutrow also trains for Goldfarb and Dubb, but "Rick's got so much, the guys felt like if I helped them that would be better," Tony Dutrow said.

Tony Dutrow will also maintain a large string at Delaware Park this summer.

* Songster, second in the Bay Shore, worked four furlongs in 50.07 seconds Thursday at Belmont. He is working toward a start in the Riva Ridge here on Belmont Day, June 10.