02/28/2003 12:00AM

Supah Blitz may get rematch


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Supah Blitz surprised most of the betting public when he finished second to Trust N Luck at 33-1 in the Grade 1 Fountain of Youth. The only thing that surprised trainer Manny Tortora that day was the price.

"I can't believe he went off at nearly 35-1," Tortora said Thursday morning, a couple of hours after Supah Blitz worked a half-mile in 47.40 seconds over his home base at Calder. "This horse has been in the money in almost every start of his career. The only concern I had is that he comes from so far out of it and they've got that track so fast it's hard to run down the speed over there.

"If somebody had hooked that other horse [Trust N Luck] we'd have beat him too."

Supah Blitz has finished behind Trust N Luck in all three of their meetings. He will likely get a fourth shot at his nemesis in the $1 million Florida Derby on March 15.

"I hate to run over that track, because you know they'll have it lightning-fast again for the Florida Derby," said Tortora, who trains Supah Blitz for his wife, Jacquelin Tortora, and the Bee Bee Stables. "I don't know why these tracks have to soup up the surface every weekend and on big race days like they do. The public is going to bet the same amount of money on those cards whether the track is fast or slow."

Tortora said his only option other than running Supah Blitz in the Florida Derby would be the Tampa Bay Derby the following afternoon. "Chances are we'll stay here and run him in the Florida Derby," said Tortora. "Although I might enter in both races and then see who goes in here before making a final decision."

Rosemary Homeister Jr. was aboard Supah Blitz for his work on Thursday. Homeister, the Eclipse Award winner as the nation's top apprentice in 1992, combined with Supah Blitz to win Calder's Jack Price Juvenile Stakes last fall and has yet to finish worse than second on the improving 3-year-old in five starts.

McPeek wins, but can't enjoy it

Even the wins are bittersweet these days for trainer Ken McPeek.

McPeek and his owners should have been enjoying a victory by Devil at the Wire, who won Friday's $74,200 Gaily Gaily Stakes by a neck over Formal Miss at Gulfstream Park. But, the celebration was short-lived when Devil at the Wire pulled up lame and had to be vanned off with an injury to her right foreleg.

The exact nature of the injury was not known. Jockey Mark Guidry thought it might have been a suspensory or a bowed tendon. However, Track veterinarian Mary Scollay, however, told McPeek she didn't think it was a soft-tissue injury.

"I'm a walking soap opera," McPeek said.

Earlier this week, McPeek lost two of his barn's key horses. Repent, a multiple graded stakes winner last year, was retired because of injury, and owner Ken Ramsey moved the promising 3-year-old Ten Cents a Shine to trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

Meanwhile, Guidry continued his recent hot streak as Devil at the Wire was one of three winners on the card for him. Thursday, Guidry won four races. He has moved into fifth in the rider standings with 39 victories.

Devil at the Wire covered the nine furlongs in 1:48.63 over firm turf and returned $14.80 to win.

With Anticipation nearing return

With Anticipation, the multiple Grade 1 winning gelding, breezed a half-mile at a training center in Camden, S.C., on Wednesday and is about a month to six weeks away from his 8-year-old debut.

Trainer Jonathan Sheppard said Friday that With Anticipation had been training all winter at Sheppard's farm in Pennsylvania and even had a breeze in the snow before moving to Camden last weekend. Times were unavailable for either of With Anticipation's workouts.

"I'm very happy with the way he's doing," Sheppard said Friday outside his Gulfstream barn. "He's big and strong and happy and moving well."

Sheppard said he is planning a similar campaign this year to last year's for With Anticipation. His season began in an allowance race at Gulfstream last April and was followed by runs in seven straight Grade 1 races. The first objective of the season is the Woodford Reserve on Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs. Other targets would include the United Nations, Sword Dancer Invitational, and Man o' War, all races With Anticipation won last year.

"My plan is to go exactly the same route," Sheppard said. "It took me seven years to figure it out. Now that we have figured it out, we might as well stick with it."

With Anticipation ended his 7-year-old season with a second-place finish to High Chaparral in the Breeders' Cup Turf.

Sprint Championship has new name

The Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Sprint Championship, a mainstay on the stakes calendar since 1984, will now be known as the Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Handicap beginning with next Saturday's running.

Nathan Fox and Rick Kaster, the co-owners of Wafare Farm in Midway, Ky., are also the co-owners of Richter Scale, who won this race in 2000 and earned more than $700,000 in his career.

"We included it into our advertising budget. It's not that steep of an investment," said Fox, who declined to reveal the amount paid to sponsor the race. "We hope to gain more exposure, and like anything else it's going to take time."

The first foals of Richter Scale are yearlings this year.

"We hope to one day win the Richter Scale with a Richter Scale," Fox said.

A total of 16 horses were nominated to the Richter Scale, including Dream Run, Binthebest, and Burning Roma, the top three finishers from this race last year. Dream Run is "up in the air" to start, according to his connections. Dream Run finished last in the Feb. 22 General George Handicap, a race delayed a week because of bad weather.

"When the General George was canceled and pushed back, it put us a week behind schedule, so that makes this race kind of close," said Randy Martin, assistant to trainer Paul McGee.

Trainer Mark Shuman said Highway Prospector would run in the Richter Scale along with either Boston Brat, who has set or equaled two track records at this meet, or Native Heir, who equaled the track record winning the Deputy Minister Handicap.

Gygistar, the beaten favorite from the Deputy Minister, is also scheduled to run.

o Edgar Prado, who was given a seven-day suspension for careless riding as the result of an incident in the fifth race on Feb. 13, had his suspension reduced to five calendar days. Prado, who was to ride in California on Saturday and Louisiana on Sunday, will begin serving the days Monday.

o Nonsuch Bay, last year's Grade 1 Mother Goose winner, breezed four furlongs in 48.40 seconds Friday morning. Trainer Frank Alexander kept Nonsuch Bay out of Saturday's Rampart Handicap, citing the short turnaround time between that race and the Shirley Jones Handicap in which Nonsuch Bay finished third. Alexander is now considering either the $200,000 Oaklawn Breeders' Cup Handicap on March 15 or the $100,000 Next Move Handicap at Aqueduct on March 23.

o Maybe Jack, a 10-year-old gelding, won a $14,000 claiming race on Friday, his 30th career win from 104 starts. Maybe Jack, who has earned $460,125, was claimed from Eddie Broome by - who else? - owner Mike Gill and trainer Mark Shuman.

- additional reporting by David Grening