10/05/2004 11:00PM

On supplementing Pico Central, Lobo decides to play it by ear


Will he or won't he?

Pico Central returned to his Hollywood Park base Tuesday afternoon, and his trainer, Paulo Lobo, said a decision on supplementing the horse to the $1 million Breeders' Cup Sprint is not expected to be made until pre-entries for the six-furlong race are taken Oct. 18.

Pico Central won the Grade 1, $500,000 Vosburgh at Belmont Park on Saturday. The win was his third Grade 1 score in New York this year, with his others coming at seven furlongs in the Carter Handicap at Aqueduct and at one mile in the Metropolitan Handicap.

In order to start in the BC Sprint, Pico Central will have to be supplemented at a cost of $200,000. Of the 18 horses who have been supplemented to the BC Sprint in the past, two have won: Cherokee Run in 1994 and Reraise in 1998.

To supplement Pico Central, his owner, Gary Tanaka, would have to pay a fee of $67,000 on the date of pre-entries, then the remaining $133,000 on the date of entries, Oct. 27.

"We're going to decide in about 10 days," said Lobo. "We have until the 18th to decide, so let's see how he trains. He's back in California. He arrived very well."

Lobo said Pico Central would go back to the track Friday or Saturday.

Pico Central has won 5 of 6 starts this year, and the $300,000 he earned Saturday put his 2004 bankroll at $1,104,000. The Vosburgh was just the second six-furlong start in his career. Pico Central's other start at the distance resulted in an allowance win in Brazil.

Speightstown, who was third in the Vosburgh after setting the pace, remains on course for the BC Sprint. Todd Pletcher, who trains Speightstown, said he will be flown from New York to Dallas on Oct. 27.

"Tentatively, he'll work the two Sundays prior to the Breeders' Cup," said Pletcher. "He came out of the race very well. He didn't seem to relish the track. He stumbled away from the gate. He bobbled twice leaving there."

Pletcher, noting the time of the Vosburgh, said he believed the track was dull. Pletcher said he would have expected a field of the Vosburgh's caliber to run "seven- or eight-fifths lower" than the final time of 1:09.74. He noted that the three races before the Vosburgh were run on turf, and the main track was sealed in anticipation of rain. The track was then opened up for the Vosburgh.

"It's not an excuse, more of an observation," he said. "They all ran on the same track. It was not his kind of surface."

Pletcher said that Alke, who last ran in March and finished second in the Golden Shaheen in Dubai, will not start in the BC Sprint.

The final major preps for the race are the Grade 3 Phoenix at Keeneland on Friday and the Grade 1 Ancient Title at Santa Anita on Sunday.

Sprint Contenders
3-year-olds & up, 6 furlongs. Purse: $1 million.

1Pico CentralP. Lobo5-2
Should have clinched the sprint title in Vosburgh; why supplement?
2SpeightstownT. Pletcher4-1
Had no excuse in the Vosburgh; still, he is capable of a lot better
3Midas EyesR. Frankel6-1
Preps becoming passe; skipped the Vosburgh, and will train up to this
4Cajun BeatR. Frankel12-1
I believe he will impove a lot off his comeback in the Vosburgh
5Clock StopperD. Stewart15-1
His powerful late run makes him a threat every time he starts
6Our New RecruitJ. Sadler12-1
Dubai Golden Shaheen winner came back strong at Del Mar
7KelaM. Mitchell12-1
Really put it together at Del Mar, but may prefer a bit more distance
8BluesthestandardT. West15-1
Second to Our New Recruit recently, and second in this last year
9ChampaliG. Foley20-1
Must show he is as good now as he was in May, June, and July
10Gold StormC. Cascio30-1
Will try to prove in the Phoenix that his upset at Arlington was no fluke

- The top 10 contenders for each of the eight Breeders' Cup races are ranked by Mike Watchmaker, who set the odds and wrote the comments. Actual Breeders' Cup fields will have up to 14 starters.