09/09/2003 11:00PM

Silver Wagon might hitch on to Champagne


MIAMI - Silver Wagon, upset winner of the Hopeful Stakes and the No. 1-rated male 2-year-old in the country in Daily Racing Form's Watchmaker Watch, has returned to training at his home base at Calder. And while his connections have yet to confirm Silver Wagon's next start, trainer Ralph Ziadie said Wednesday that Belmont's Grade 1 Champagne Stakes on Oct. 4 remains under serious consideration.

"We've still got three or four weeks left, but we're definitely thinking about the Champagne," said Ziadie who trains Silver Wagon for the Buckram Oak Farm. "Right now the boss [Mahmoud Fustok] is still in Kentucky at the sales. We'll more or less wait until he comes back to Florida sometime next week before making a decision. I'm sure he and I will sit down within a few days of his return and talk things over."

Ziadie originally said that neither he nor Fustok wanted to push Silver Wagon following his victory in the Hopeful, and that the Breeders' Cup Juvenile was definitely not under consideration. In fact, he said there was a strong possibility the son of Wagon Limit might not run again as a 2-year-old, and if he did, that start would likely come later in the season, possibly in Aqueduct's Remsen or Calder's What a Pleasure Stakes.

But with Silver Wagon now one of the serious contenders for an Eclipse Award in the juvenile division, the Champagne suddenly has become an option.

"He's back galloping," said Ziadie. "He hasn't missed a day. Everything seems 100 percent since his last race and the long trip back to Florida. At the moment I'm taking everything day to day with his training schedule. I've got nothing really planned as far as a workout goes. I'll wait for him to tell me when he's ready to breeze."

Sixteen named to Foolish Pleasure

Silver Wagon is among the 16 juvenile colts and geldings nominated to the $100,000 Foolish Pleasure Stakes here on Sept. 20.

"I've got two horses nominated to the Foolish Pleasure and neither of them are going to run," said Ziadie, whose other nominee is Buckram Oak's All True, runner-up in the seven furlong Affirmed Stakes on Aug. 30.

Among the other noteworthy nominees for the mile and 70-yard Foolish Pleasure are Tap Dancer and Hopefortheroses. Tap Dancer is already a two-time winner around two turns. Hopefortheroses was owned and bred by Harold Rose, who died earlier this week.

The Foolish Pleasure will share top billing on the Sept. 20 program, along with its filly counterpart, the $100,000 Brave Raj Stakes.

Pick of the Pack tops a surprisingly short list of only 12 2-year-old fillies nominated to the Brave Raj.

The Foolish Pleasure and Brave Raj are the final major preps for the $400,000 In Reality and My Dear Girl divisions of the Florida Stallion Stakes, to be run Oct. 11.