09/13/2004 11:00PM

Stay Forever sets her sights on bigger game


MIAMI - Stay Forever and Mr. Livingston, two of the top grass horses stabled on the grounds, were both conspicuous by their absence when the field left the gate for Saturday's Grade 3 Miami Mile Breeders' Cup Handicap.

Stay Forever, a mare, was entered and would likely have been the favorite against males in the Miami Mile, but trainer Marty Wolfson decided to scratch her even after it became apparent the race would be run on grass as scheduled.

Wolfson was planning to use the Miami Mile, which had been postponed five days because of Hurricane Frances, as a prep for the Grade 2, $500,000 WinStar Galaxy Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 10, but will now train her into that race instead.

"I think she was five lengths better than anything in this race here, but I just thought that with a full field going only a mile it was a lot to overcome," said Wolfson, who trains Stay Forever for her breeder, the Santa Cruz Ranch. "I just didn't want to take a chance of something happening to her with a half-million-dollar race coming up."

Stay Forever is at the top of her game at the age of 7. She has won two of her last three starts, including Churchill Downs's Grade 3 Mint Julep Handicap, and she finished second behind Wonder Again over a soft course in the Grade 2 New York Handicap at Belmont. Wonder Again is considered among the top contenders for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf on Oct. 30.

Stay Forever is also eligible for the 1 1/4-mile Filly and Mare Turf, but Wolfson said he would be inclined to pass the Breeders' Cup barring a huge effort in the WinStar Galaxy.

"The Filly and Mare Turf is three turns, and I believe she's really best around two turns," said Wolfson.

Mr. Livingston, who moved to the top of the local handicap division on turf following his easy victory in the Carterista Handicap early in the meet, has not started since finishing far back after pressing the early pace in Del Mar's Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap on July 25.

"I didn't even consider the Miami Mile for Mr. Livingston," said trainer Bill Kaplan, "because with the hurricane coming through I didn't think the race had a chance to go on the turf, and if it did it would be run over a soft course, which he just cannot handle."

Kaplan, said he intended to point Mr. Livingston to the Flying Pidgeon Handicap on Oct. 9.

Dance to Remember impresses

One of the more noteworthy performances last weekend was by Dance to Remember, a 2-year-old gelded son of Sword Dance who is a full brother to Blazing Sword.

In only his second career start and first around two turns, Dance to Remember rallied to a convincing maiden victory going a mile on Saturday. Like his older brother, Dance to Remember is trained by Kathleen O'Connell for owner-breeder Gil Campbell.

Blazing Sword earned nearly $1.2 million in 45 career starts. Two of his most noteworthy victories came in the 1996 Dr. Fager and Affirmed divisions of the Florida Stallion Stakes. He was beaten a neck and a nose following a rough trip in his attempt to sweep the series in the 1 1/16-mile In Reality Stakes.

Dance to Remember will have a chance to atone for Blazing Sword's setback in the 1996 In Reality when he starts in the 2004 edition Oct. 23.