02/18/2005 12:00AM

Turf next for Gigawatt


NEW ORLEANS - Trainer Steve Flint has decided against pointing Gigawatt to the New Orleans Handicap and will run him back on turf instead, perhaps as early as next week in the $125,000 Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on the grass.

"I think he's a better horse on grass," Flint said from his barn at Fair Grounds Friday morning. "He had his own way in the Louisiana Handicap, but I had a bad feeling going into the Mineshaft Handicap with him."

Gigawatt finished fourth in last Saturday's Grade 3 Mineshaft, which was won by the Nick Zito-trained Wanderin Boy.

"Nick Zito's horse had a lot of speed," Flint said, "so we decided to try something different and rate Gigawatt from off the pace. We could have forced him to run in 1:09 and change, but then Todd Pletcher's horse, Pollard's Vision, would have won, and both my horse and Nick's would have been nowhere. As it was we got fourth, which was okay. He came out of the race real well and we'll be able to go on with him."

Flint could run Gigawatt in the Grade 2 Mervin Muniz Memorial Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on the grass at Fair Grounds on March 19, but he has his stable star G P Fleet pointed toward that race. G P Fleet ran poorly at Santa Anita in his last start, the Sunshine Millions Turf, but Flint dismisses that race.

"He's a small horse, and the second day out there you could tell the travel got to him," said Flint. "Then they made us wait in the test barn with him for an hour before taking him to the paddock, and by the time we got to the race he was finished before he started. Then he didn't like the wet racetrack, which the jockey said was like suction cups. I really thought he was going to win."

Flint brought G P Fleet back to Fair Grounds and gave him a little freshener, which proved to be invaluable.

"Usually I'll work a horse back seven to 10 days after a race, but in this case I waited 17 days and he came back with a strong work that was just a click off a bullet," Flint said. "He loves it here. I just wish he had a start over this course, because some horses take to this sandy, tiring turf course and others just can't handle it."

The Muniz, named for the late longtime Fair Grounds racing secretary, has been the plan for G P Fleet all along.

"I would love to win that race," said Flint, who grew up on the backstretch as the son of a former New Orleans police officer. "I remember Mervin walking around here like it was yesterday."

Graham wins four in a row

Jockey James Graham scored a rare consecutive four-bagger on Thursday's Fair Grounds card. Graham won the third race by 9 1/4 lengths aboard Kera's Kitty Cat, then booted home Son of a Lue in the fourth by 1 1/4 lengths. Graham followed with a nifty off-the-pace grass score on 5-1 shot G.W.'s Jazz, and capped off his run with a gate-to-wire score on Bagalicious in the sixth.

Graham came a neck short of winning five in a row when he just missed aboard Marshall Matt in the seventh race.