07/20/2001 12:00AM

Toddler should win Shipman, but . . .


ELMONT, N.Y. - While Toddler looms a solid favorite in Sunday's $75,000 Evan Shipman Stakes, trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. sent out mixed signals Friday when discussing his 4-year-old colt's chances in the 1 1/16-mile race for New York-bred colts and geldings.

"If our horse is on top of his game - which I'm not 100 percent sure he is - he's supposed to beat those horses," Dutrow said from California, where he was moving a string of horses from Hollywood Park to Del Mar. "I'm glad the race came up sort of weak. This is not a strong New York-bred race; that's to our advantage. I believe I've seen him better, but I know he is doing good."

The Evan Shipman is the feature on the 55th and final card of the Belmont spring-summer meet. After a two-day break, New York racing moves to Saratoga for six weeks beginning Wednesday.

Toddler has not been out since May 26, when he finished fifth in the Brandywine Stakes over a sloppy Delaware Park track. The slop could have been an excuse had Toddler not won three straight races over a wet track. One of those victories was the Kings Point Handicap, Toddler's last appearance in New York-bred company.

"I'm hoping it was the racetrack - I'm hoping," Dutrow said of the Brandywine. "He didn't come out of the race with any kind of problems. That track was kind of funny."

As the 123-pound highweight, Toddler must concede six to 10 pounds to his seven rivals. John Velazquez rides from post 4.

"If Toddler's right, I'm not even concerned about spotting those horses weight," Dutrow said.

If Toddler's not right, any of a number of horses could pull the upset.

Fourth and Six makes his second start since being claimed by Scott Lake for $45,000 in May. In his first start for Lake, Fourth and Six finished second, a neck behind Casanova Star in an open-company third-level allowance race. He earned a 104 Beyer Speed Figure for that race. Gerald Brooks, Lake's assistant, will be listed as the trainer while Lake serves a 15-day suspension.

Fourth and Six will be ridden by Jorge Chavez under 115 pounds from post 3.

Pulled Out is dangerous as the main speed and the 113-pound lightweight under Norberto Arroyo Jr. Although unproven beyond seven furlongs, Pulled Out has two wins and a second in three starts since being claimed by Frank Laboccetta Jr.