01/28/2003 1:00AM

Supervisor: Big drop yet no lock


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - After Supervisor finished a fast-closing fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull Stakes, the logical assumption was that he would head straight to the Grade 1, 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth Stakes on Feb. 15.

Instead, trainer Manny Tortora has shifted gears, wheeling the versatile Supervisor back on the turf under first-level allowance conditions in one of the three allowance races that serve as co-features on Thursday's 10-race card at Gulfstream Park.

Supervisor bumped with eventual winner Offlee Wild leaving the gate and dropped more than 16 lengths off the lead after the opening half-mile of the Grade 3 Holy Bull. He was still last when the field passed the quarter pole but finished full of run to be beaten only 5 1/2 lengths.

"I really didn't want to run him back this quick but I need to get this condition out of the way or he won't get enough weight to get into any of the stakes races later in the meet," said Tortora.

All of the stakes races for 3-year-olds here are run under under allowance conditions with high weights or total earnings determining the starting lineups if the races oversubscribe. Despite having contended in the Holy Bull and Grade 3 Tropical Park Derby, Supervisor has only a single victory on his rŽsumŽ and barely over $64,000 in earnings.

"I thought he should have won the Tropical Park Derby but he just got too far back in that one too," said Tortora. "The good thing about this horse is that he can run on turf or dirt. I'm not sure what I'll do with him after this race. The Fountain of Youth probably comes back a little too quick, but there are some stakes coming up on the grass - and he is eligible for the Florida Derby."

Despite dropping from graded stakes company to an entry-level allowance race, Supervisor does not lay over the field. In fact, Our Finale finished a half-length in front of Supervisor when he was second, beaten a head by his stablemate Millennium Storm, in Calder's Mecke Stakes. Sent off at 3-5 in an allowance race four weeks later, Our Finale finished second - for the fourth straight start - behind upset winner Magic Mecke.

All the Way, who won his only start on grass, also demands respect, as does the Bill Mott-trained pair of Aventura Place and Euro-invader Russia.

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