05/29/2001 11:00PM

Songandaprayer aims for Spa


ELMONT, N.Y. - Songandaprayer, the million-dollar colt who ran the fastest half-mile- and three-quarter-mile fractions in Kentucky Derby history before fading to 13th, will skip the Riva Ridge Stakes on June 9 and point to a summer campaign at Saratoga, trainer John Dowd said Wednesday.

Dowd said Songandaprayer will be pointed to races such as the $125,000, Grade 2 Amsterdam on Aug. 3 and the $200,000, Grade 1 King's Bishop on Aug. 25. Dowd said Songandaprayer could prep for those races in the $100,000 Jersey Shore Breeders' Cup Sprint on July 4 at Monmouth Park where he is currently training.

However, that would depend on how rapidly Songandaprayer recovers from a skin disease that resulted in the loss of all the hair on his right hind quarters. While the skin disease has died out, it is only recently that the hair is starting to grow back, Dowd said.

"The day before the Kentucky Derby he started breaking out with a skin disease," Dowd said. "The stress of going through the race really brought it out especially on his right side."

Dowd said Songandaprayer has not missed a day of training and was scheduled for his first breeze since the Derby within a week. Dowd said his long-term goal with Songandaprayer is the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

"As far as stud value goes, he's done all we needed him to do as far as going a distance of ground," said Dowd, referring to Songandaprayer's victory in the Grade 1 Fountain of Youth at 1 1/16 miles. "The races at Saratoga are little more prestigious and a race like the King's Bishop would stamp him as a nice sire."

Among those expected for the Riva Ridge are Flame Thrower, Express Tour, Put it Back, Speightstown, and Touch Tone.

Weather concerns Vienna

California-based trainer Darrell Vienna on Wednesday put Janet on a New York-bound plane with the intention of running her in Saturday's $150,000, Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay Handicap. But with more rain in the forecast for the weekend, Vienna has concerns about running over a soft course or a wet main track.

"We're very concerned," Vienna said. "She's never been on soft ground. It's a long way to go not to get a chance to play."

Janet did run over a Santa Anita turf course labeled yielding in an optional/claiming race on Feb. 14. Although she finished sixth, she was beaten only 1 3/4 lengths in a race where she was boxed in almost the length of the stretch. She encountered a little more trouble when third, beaten a head, in another optional claiming event in her next start.

"She should have won both those races, and I don't say that lightly," Vienna said. "She was in a terrible switch."

Since those two troubled trips, Janet has rebounded to win two straight including the Grade 3 Yerba Buena Breeders' Cup Handicap at Bay Meadows on May 12.

David Flores, who has ridden Janet in her last four starts, will be aboard Saturday.

As of Wednesday, the probable Sheepshead Bay field also included Playact, Aiglonne, Just a Ginny, Lady D'Jour, and possibly Critical Eye and Unbridled Waters.

Peter Pan won on three shoes

Trainer John Ward revealed Wednesday that Hero's Tribute won last Saturday's Peter Pan Stakes despite breaking the Z-shaped bar shoe he wore to protect his left front foot.

"It shows how hard the track is," Ward said. "So hard you could break an aluminum bar shoe. I'm glad he broke the bar shoe instead of doing damage to his foot."

While Ward said that Hero's Tribute is being pointed to the Grade 1 Swaps on

July 15 at Hollywood Park, he left the door open to run in the $1 million Haskell Invitational on Aug. 5 at Monmouth Park instead. The timing is such that he could run in both races.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman