12/03/2001 12:00AM

Trainer picturing Griffinite in Malibu


JAMAICA, N.Y. - Although he was disqualified from first and placed fourth in a Sunday allowance race at Aqueduct, Griffinite's performance was enough to encourage his connections to strongly consider running him in the $200,000 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 26.

"The Malibu is a real possibility," trainer Richard Lundy said Monday morning at Aqueduct.

The Malibu, run at seven furlongs, is the final Grade 1 of the year restricted to 3-year-old colts and geldings. Griffinite's lone win this year came at seven furlongs, when he took the Grade 3 Lafayette Stakes in April at Keeneland in his first start off a four-month layoff.

Sunday's seven-furlong race was Griffinite's first start since June 17 when he finished fourth in the Leonard Richard Stakes at Delaware Park. Griffinite raced close to the early pace, dropped back on the turn before rallying again along the inside to finish first by a neck over Vodka. However, the stewards posted the inquiry sign and disqualified Griffinite for bearing out leaving the starting gate. Griffinite's actions bothered several horses in the field and he was placed fourth.

"That's racing, that's why those guys are up there," Lundy said of the stewards. "You could look at it two ways: well, he didn't do that much but yeah, he did come over. Am I totally upset with the decision? No."

Instead, Lundy chose to accentuate the positive. Griffinite, a notoriously bad gate horse, went in without incident and stood calmly.

"Effort-wise it was a real good effort," Lundy said. "It was a good experience. If you take away those two jumps out of the gate everything would have been 100 percent."

The disqualification of Griffinite was costly to one Florida horseplayer. Had Griffinite won - or if he had been placed second or third - Barbara Wolfson would have won a $5,000 betting voucher as the top prize in Aqueduct's "Showdown" contest that ended Sunday. Instead, Paul Horner, an operator of a bowling alley in Rochester, N.Y., won the $5,000 voucher.

The on-line contest required players to correctly select one horse to finish in the top three on each of the 25 racing days of the main track meet.

Xtra Heat assigned 124 for Garland of Roses

Xtra Heat, the runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, was assigned top weight of 124 pounds for Saturday's $75,000 Garland of Roses, when she will face fillies and mares for the first time in three races. The race is run at six furlongs.

Xtra Heat, who most recently finished third against males in the De Francis Dash at Laurel Park, will concede four to 12 pounds to a field that could include Dat You Miz Blue (120), Raging Fever (116), Ivy's Jewel (115), Kimbralata (115), Folly Dollar (113), Golightly (113), Look of the Lynx (113), and Tina Dynamite (112).

On Monday, Dat You Miz Blue drilled four furlongs in 46.23 seconds over Belmont Park's training track, the fastest of 48 works at the distance. Dat You Miz Blue, who is coming off a 7 1/2-length victory in the Ready Jet Go Stakes at The Meadowlands on Nov. 10, will have Edgar Prado in the irons, according to trainer Jimmy Jerkens.

While he has a healthy respect for Xtra Heat, Jerkens said he does not plan on ducking her.

"Naturally, I wish she wasn't in there, but you can't concede races to horses either," he said. "That filly might be tiring out now at the end of a long year. She could probably run half as good as she can and still win, but I would have to think she's a little more vulnerable now than a couple of months ago."

On Sunday, Raging Fever worked four furlongs in 48.75 seconds.

Bravo plans February return - at Gulfstream

Joe Bravo, the second-leading rider over the inner track last winter, hopes to return to race-riding in February, his agent Danny Mellul said Monday. When Bravo does return, he will ride at Gulfstream Park in south Florida.

Bravo suffered a severely broken left leg in a spill on July 27 at Monmouth Park, breaking the tibia and fibula in two places. Initially, it was believed Bravo would be able to return in three to four months, but "it's going to take a little longer than we thought," Mellul said.

Mellul said he and Bravo chose to return in Florida in part to avoid the cold weather. Also, the four-month Gulfstream meet will only be a month old whereas Aqueduct's winter meet will be in full swing.

Last winter, Bravo rode 64 winners during the last inner track meet, second only to Aaron Gryder's 76.