12/15/2005 12:00AM

Tortora pair will give favorites fits


MIAMI - Trainer Manny Tortora has been trying to separate his dynamic duo of Whos Crying Now and Supervisor since the end of summer. But barring a rainstorm that would take the W.L. McKnight Handicap off the grass, Whos Crying Now and Supervisor will team up again as major players in Saturday's Grade 3 Fred W. Hooper Handicap at Calder.

The Nick Zito-trained entry of Seek Gold and Andromeda's Hero will likely be favored in the Hooper, but Whos Crying Now and Supervisor have had a stranglehold on the division here since mid-September. Whos Crying Now and Supervisor will race as separate betting interests again Saturday.

"I've been trying to separate them somewhere, but I just can't," said Tortora. "If we get a monsoon and the McKnight moves to the main track, I'll run Supervisor in there. If not, they'll both run together again."

Whos Crying Now has gotten the better of Supervisor in two of their last three matchups, but just barely. Whos Crying Now rallied to win the Ambehaving Stakes by a nose on Sept. 10, with Supervisor finishing third, and he beat Supervisor by a head in the Carl Rose Classic. In October, Supervisor won the Spend a Buck by a neck over odds-on favorite B. B. Best, with Whos Crying Now finishing a length back in fourth.

"Both are pretty tough right now and have continued to train well up to this race," Tortora said. "Don't ask me which one is better, or who

I think might win. Whoever gets the better trip is usually the one who finishes in front of the other."

In that regard, Whos Crying Now may have the edge in the Hooper, since he will break from post 1 under regular rider Manoel Cruz. Supervisor will break from post 9 under regular rider Abdiel Toribio Jr.

Seek Gold and Andromeda's Hero are the class of the field, but between them have won just once in 15 starts this season. Andromeda's Hero owns that lone victory, which came in February in the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. Andromeda's Hero has held his own against some top competition since that win, having finished second behind Afleet Alex in the Belmont Stakes, third in the Arkansas Derby, and third in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy. He has finished fourth in his last three appearances.

Seek Gold is winless in four starts this season, which began with a fourth in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park. After finishing seventh in the Gulfstream Park Handicap and fourth in the Alysheba, he took a 6 1/2-month break before returning to finish second in an optional claimer at Churchill Downs on Nov. 24.

Other contenders among the 11 horses entered for the 1 1/8-mile Hooper are Dazzling Dr. Cevin, upset winner of the Calder Derby; Canadian invader Niigon; and Oklahoma Derby winner Military Major.

Silver Wagon will be heavily favored to win the seven-furlong Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap. A Grade 1 winner, Silver Wagon has held his own against some top-caliber competition all year. His best performance was a second-place finish behind Ghostzapper in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap. Trained by Ralph Ziadie, Silver Wagon is coming off a fourth in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile but has yet to win a race in three tries over his home course.

Storm Surge, the lone 3-year-old in the field, is a Grade 3 winner who has also fared well against graded-stakes company for most of the season.

Kennel Up has shipped down from New York, where he recently finished fourth in the Grade 3 Stuyvesant Handicap.