04/20/2005 11:00PM

Sis City's season plotted out

Sis City, with exercise rider Michele Nevin at Churchill Downs on Thursday, is the Kentucky Oaks favorite.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The retirement of Sweet Catomine leaves Sis City as the dominant force in the 3-year-old filly division. Her trainer, Richard Dutrow Jr., is already dreaming big.

"It would be nice to be able to train a champion,'' Dutrow said Thursday at Aqueduct.

Sis City, whom Dutrow claimed for $50,000 last summer at Saratoga, will be the overwhelming favorite for next month's Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. Dutrow has already mapped out the remainder of Sis City's 3-year-old campaign following the Oaks.

Dutrow plans to skip the trio of races at Belmont for 3-year-old fillies - the Acorn, Mother Goose, and Coaching Club American Oaks - and point to the $500,000 Delaware Oaks on July 16, then the $750,000 Alabama at Saratoga on Aug. 20 and the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff at Belmont Park on Oct. 29.

"I just think that's the best way to manage these good horses, give them a month and a half or two months between races,'' Dutrow said.

Already this year Sis City has won the Grade 2 Davona Dale by 16 lengths and the Grade 1 Ashland by 10 1/2 lengths. Sis City had nine weeks between those two races.

Sis City is scheduled to have a work this weekend at Churchill Downs, one of two she will have prior to the Oaks.

Dutrow ready to take on Funny Cide

With Funny Cide being pointed to the $100,000 Kings Point Handicap on May 1, the racing office figures to have a tough time finding enough horses to challenge the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner.

Dutrow said he would definitely run Yankee Mon, a son of Maria's Mon who has gone 2 for 2 since coming into Dutrow's barn. Thursday, Yankee Mon worked a mile in 1:42.61 over Aqueduct's main track.

"Funny Cide ain't going to get no easy trip,'' Dutrow said. "Our horse is coming off two freakish races and he's coming off a layoff and he should be spotting us a lot of weight. They better be ready.''

Yankee Mon made his first start for Dutrow on Feb. 19, winning an open-company allowance race by seven lengths. He came back on March 25 to win a New York-bred second-level allowance by 3 1/4 lengths.

Dutrow said he received Yankee Mon after the colt underwent knee surgery. "So far, we've gotten lucky,'' Dutrow said.

Saratoga simulcasts at Belmont

For the second time in three years, Belmont Park will serve as host of the simulcast action from Saratoga.

New York Racing Association officials are hopeful that construction of a video lottery terminal facility on the second floor will be well underway during the Saratoga meet. Two years ago, NYRA began construction on the VLT project at Aqueduct, which forced the Saratoga simulcasts to Belmont.

The project was shut down on Aug. 7, 2003, when MGM-Mirage, which will partner with Aqueduct on this project, had concerns over an investigation by the United States Attorney's Office, which ultimately led to the NYRA being indicted for fraud.

The simulcasts will be available on the first floor of Belmont's grandstand and the backyard. The second floor of the clubhouse will be open as well as the air-conditioned North Shore Terrace, located on the fourth floor of the clubhouse. There will be a $3 admission fee to the North Shore Terrace; however, customers with a clubhouse season pass will be admitted free upon presentation of the pass.

Parking and admission, other than for the North Shore Terrace, will be free.

* Value Plus, winner of the Artax Handicap at Gulfstream on April 2, worked four furlongs in 48.61 seconds Thursday over Belmont's main track. He is being pointed to the Grade 3, $100,000 Westchester Handicap on May 4 at Belmont.