10/06/2001 12:00AM

Tiznow's Goodwood goals are modest

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Even while Tiznow's short-term objective remains the Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 27, co-owner Michael Cooper and trainer Jay Robbins are looking beyond this season. Specifically, Cooper is considering postponing Tiznow's stallion career and racing him through next year.

Tiznow meets Skimming and four others Sunday at Santa Anita in the Grade 2 Goodwood Handicap, the last California prep for the Breeders' Cup. Tiznow's performance in the Goodwood and Breeders' Cup will go a long way in determining if he carries on next season as a 5-year-old racehorse.

"He will have only had 15 races, and he's sound, so there is consideration to going on for another year," said Cooper. "There aren't many older horses around, and we haven't actively marketed him as a stallion. I want to see what he does in the next two races, but you'd have to think about [a 2002 campaign]."

The colt's trainer endorses the plan. "If he's sound like he is right now, I'd like to see him run next year," said Robbins, adding "he's a beautiful-legged horse. He's never had filling in his ankles or knees."

Tiznow battled quarter cracks during the winter, but it was a midseason back problem, after he won the Santa Anita Handicap, that jeopardized Tiznow's career. Robbins nursed him through, and Tiznow returned from a six-month layoff Sept. 8 to finish a creditable third in the Woodward Stakes at Belmont Park.

According to Robbins, the race served its purpose "other than the fact he didn't win. We got a race into him, got him back unscathed, and we found out he can handle that track all right." The point is relevant. If Tiznow is to win the Classic for the second straight year, he will have to do it in New York. First, he must run well Sunday in the 1 1/8-mile Goodwood.

Although Tiznow is the 124-pound highweight, he does not have to win the race. "I'll be disappointed if anybody but Skimming beats him," said Robbins. "If he doesn't win, I want to see him finish well."

Chris McCarron will be aboard Tiznow, whose speed will allow him to be positioned within striking range of Skimming. Tiznow's owner recognizes the challenge in facing the speedball. Said Cooper: "It's a dilemma. To beat [Skimming], we have to go head and head with him. And if we both go out there in 1:33-and-change, we might both get beat."

Garrett Gomez rides Skimming, who is making his first start since his second straight win in the Pacific Classic Aug. 19 at Del Mar. "He's four for four at Del Mar, and nobody gives him any credit for running anywhere else," Gomez noted. In fact, Skimming won his U.S. debut at Santa Anita, and ran well this summer at Hollywood Park. A pure speedster, Skimming will control the Goodwood pace.

"They get tired chasing him," said Gomez. "If he runs his race, I don't think they'll beat him." Skimming can earn a start in the Breeders' Cup Classic with a strong Goodwood effort, while Dixie Dot Com is another with Breeders' Cup aspirations. The question is, which race?

Trainer Bill Morey said Dixie Dot Com could be pointed for either the Mile or the Classic, pending developments this weekend. "This is a big weekend to see how everybody runs, my horse included," said Morey. "Then, we'll play the hand." Dixie Dot Com's presence helps insure an honest pace.

Longshot bettors hoping for a meltdown may settle on Tribunal, starting for the first time since April 7.

"He's been doing awesome," trainer Bob Baffert said. "Sometimes when they're doing so well, I hate to waste them in an allowance race. There's a lot of speed in there, and my horse is an off-the-pace horse." Tribunal is eligible to three-other-than, and has yet to produce a Grade 2-caliber effort.

THE FIELD

GOODWOOD BREEDERS' CUP HANDICAP

Purse $500,000, 1 1/8 miles, Grade 2

PPHORSEJOCKEYWTODDS

1Skimming G. Gomez 1237-5

2Dixie Dot ComD. Flores 1186-1

3Tribunal C. Nakatani 1158-1

4Freedom Crest K. Desormeaux 11520-1

5Tiznow C. McCarron1246-5

6Dig for It A. Solis11412-1

Odds by Brad Free

Television: 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Eastern (taped), ESPN2

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