09/13/2002 11:00PM

Slow time wasn't bad on dull track


ELMONT, N.Y. - Medaglia d'Oro, in his second work since winning the Travers Stakes on Aug. 24, worked five furlongs Friday morning over Belmont Park's main track.

Medaglia d'Oro, under exercise rider Rudy Rodriguez, covered five furlongs in 1:02.83, breezing. The work came after the renovation break on a track labeled fast. Indicative of how slow the track was playing, the bullet for five furlongs was 1:02.18.

The clockers caught Medaglia d'Oro galloping out six furlongs in 1:17.60 after earlier fractions of 13 seconds, 25.60, and 37.60.

Medaglia d'Oro's trainer, Bobby Frankel, on hand for the breeze, was pleased with the move.

"I wouldn't have minded if on a fast track he worked that slow," Frankel said.

Frankel intends to run Medaglia d'Oro in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Arlington Park on Oct. 26 without a race between now and then. Frankel said he believes Medaglia d'Oro, who also won the Jim Dandy at Saratoga, would benefit from not running before the 1 1/4-mile Classic.

"He ran so well in the Jim Dandy off a layoff," Frankel said. "He's easy to get fit and doesn't need a lot of work." Last Friday, Medaglia d'Oro worked an easy half-mile in his first breeze since the Travers, which he won by a half-length over Repent. Frankel said he didn't lose significant training time with Medaglia d'Oro, who had a bruise "bust out" of his foot during the running of the Travers.

Frankel said another reason he would skip the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup on Sept. 28, with Medaglia d'Oro, is because he has two other horses for the Grade 1 race.

Frankel, who won the Gold Cup last year with Aptitude, will run Woodward winner Lido Palace and Milwaukee Brew.

Frankel also worked Labamta Babe on Friday. Labamta Babe covered five furlongs in 1:03.14, breezing. Frankel said Labamta Babe, who finished eighth in the King's Bishop on Travers Day, is a candidate for the $350,000 Pegasus at The Meadowlands on Sept. 27.

Hoping history doesn't repeat itself

When New Jersey-based trainer Dennis Manning comes to New York on Sunday to saddle Sapling winner Valid Video in the $200,000 Futurity it will bring back memories of Harley Tune, a promising 2-year-old Manning trained in 1996.

Manning owned Harley Tune, a son of Lucky North, in partnership with Mac Fehsenfeld, Valid Video's owner.

Like Valid Video, Harley Tune won his career debut easily at Monmouth Park. In his next start, Harley Tune was second in the Sapling. After finishing third in Belmont's Futurity, Harley Tune underwent surgery to remove a small chip in his knee and died from a reaction to the anesthesia.

"To say I was devastated is an understatement," Manning said.

Millionaire status is mare's goal

Critical Eye is inching her way closer toward becoming a millionaire, which is the goal trainer Scott Schwartz has set for the mare before she is retired at the end of the year.

After winning an allowance race here Thursday, Critical Eye, a New York-bred, has earnings of $944,911.

Critical Eye won Grade 1 races in 2000 and 2001, but as a 5-year-old this year she has not been competitive against the best of her division.

Schwartz, who trains Critical Eye for his father, Herbert T. Schwartz, said he would be choosy in picking her remaining races. Among the possibilities are another allowance race and the $150,000 Ticonderoga Handicap, a restricted grass race on New York Showcase Day on Oct. 19.

"We want to get to a million and call it a career, and do it the easiest way we can," Schwartz said. "We'll try to keep her where she is best. She's not the Grade 1 winner she was when she was 3 and 4."

Schwartz said it hasn't been decided who Critical Eye will be bred to next year. He said Critical Eye would join his family's broodmare band, which includes Critical Eye's mother, Critical Crew.

o Trainer Todd Pletcher said he hasn't made up his mind where Pennsylvania Derby winner Harlan's Holiday would run next. The Jockey Club Gold Cup is a possibility.