03/04/2003 12:00AM

Taking it easy with Trust N Luck


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - With Kentucky Derby hopefuls falling by the wayside seemingly on a daily basis, trainer Ralph Ziadie was not about to take any chances with Trust N Luck on Tuesday morning during the colt's final major prep for the $1 million Florida Derby on March 15.

Trust N Luck was the first horse out on the track following the renovation break at Calder on Tuesday, and, with regular rider Cornelio Velasquez aboard, worked an easy five furlongs in 1:02.

"That was perfect," said Ziadie as Trust N Luck made his way back to the barn. "He did it easily. He could have gone in 59 or 1:00 if I wanted him to, but that's not necessary."

Originally Ziadie had planned on working Trust N Luck in company on Tuesday. But he decided to scrap the plan to ensure that his 3-year-old did not overextend himself with his final Kentucky Derby prep race on the horizon.

"I changed my mind about having him go in company, because I was afraid he might get a little rank with another horse alongside and go too fast," said Ziadie.

"He just came out of a race and I don't want to kill him. We don't need any black-letter works. He worked alone prior to his last start and things worked out pretty well and I say if it ain't broke don't fix it."

Trust N Luck launched his 3-year-old campaign with an easy victory in Gulfstream Park's Grade 1 Fountain of Youth Stakes. Ziadie worked the colt once at Gulfstream before that race to give him a feel for the track but otherwise has kept Trust N Luck at his home base at Calder.

Burning Roma to start at Tampa Bay

Burning Roma launched his 2003 campaign with an easy victory in the Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup Handicap on turf. But instead of bringing him back in Sunday's $100,000 Canadian Turf Handicap, trainer Heather Giglio said she is leaning toward Saturday's Richter Scale Sprint Handicap going seven furlongs on the main track.

"We ran him on the turf at Tampa because that was the only race available for him at the time," said Giglio, who trains Burning Roma for owner Harold Queen. "But I see no problem in turning him back to a sprint and putting him back on the main track this weekend. He finished third in this race last year and he's doing very well at the current time."

Burning Roma, who defeated eventual Breeders' Cup Classic winner Volponi in last year's Grade 2 Meadowlands Cup, rallied to finish third behind Dream Run and Binthebest in the 2002 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Sprint, as the Richter Scale was formerly known. Both those rivals are nominated for the race again this year, although only Binthebest appears to be a likely participant.

"Right now I have nothing planned for him beyond this race," said Giglio. "We'll see how he does and then move forward from there."

Tour of the Cat finished second to Burning Roma in the Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup. Tour of the Cat also is also nominated to both the Canadian Turf and Richter Scale, and his trainer, Myra Mora, said she is leaning toward the Richter Scale.

"Burning Roma is a monster, but I think my horse is a better sprinter than a router, and his best distance is seven furlongs," Mora said by phone from Tampa. "So it's more likely we'll go for the dirt race."

Tour of the Cat was the premier sprinter based at Calder in 2002, winning four stakes and finishing second in the Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap. He has spent this winter at Tampa, where he finished sixth in the six-furlong Pelican Stakes earlier in the meet.

"He doesn't like the track at Tampa and hasn't done too well on dirt here, which is why I tried him on the turf last time," said Mora. "He's also had some bruised feet and I didn't get to train him much for that race."

A field of from seven to nine horses is likely for the Richter Scale, including Gygistar, Binthebest, Fire and Glory, Smooth Jazz, Highway Prospector, and either Native Heir or Boston Brat.

Nothing to Lose hurt, off Derby trail

Nothing to Lose, a multiple Grade 3 stakes winner on turf who was heading to the Lane's End Stakes on dirt as a possible prelude to the Kentucky Derby, became the latest 3-year-old to be knocked off the Triple Crown trail because of injury.

According to his trainer, D. Wayne Lukas, Nothing to Lose suffered a non-displaced stress crack in his left shin and will be sidelined indefinitely. Nothing to Lose will miss all three Triple Crown races. Nothing to Lose was diagnosed with the injury late Monday, according to Lukas, one day after he worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 at Gulfstream Park.

"It's non-displaced, which is the best scenario," Lukas said from Santa Anita. "It's probably going to need some attention."

Lukas, who said that Dr. Larry Bramlage would examine Nothing to Lose, said "I don't think it's anything that's going to stop him [completely], but it'll stop him for a while."

Nothing to Lose, owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, was coming off victories in the Tropical Park Derby and the Palm Beach Stakes, which made him 4 for 4 on turf. But he was going to be given another opportunity to try the dirt in the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes on March 22 at Turfway. Nothing to Lose, a son of Sky Classic, had lost his first two starts on dirt.

Lukas said Tuesday that arrangements were being made to ship Nothing to Lose to the Rood and Riddle Equine Clinic in Lexington, Ky., where Bramlage would further examine the colt.

Meanwhile, Lukas said that Boston Park, winner of the Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct last month, might make his next start in the Tampa Bay Derby on March 16.

* Indy Dancer, the beaten favorite in the Risen Star Stakes and a Florida Derby candidate, worked five furlongs in 1:01.60 Tuesday at Palm Meadows. Trainer Todd Pletcher said Indy Dancer's next start would be finalized after he works again next week.

* San Dare, winner of the Honey Fox Handicap and The Very One Handicap at this meet, worked four furlongs in 47.20 seconds Tuesday at Gulfstream. San Dare is being pointed to the $200,000 Orchid Handicap here on March 23.

* Trainer David Donk and his wife, Fay, had their second child on Monday morning, a girl. The new addition, Holly Mae, weighed in at 8 pounds, 15 ounces.

- additional reporting by David Grening