10/03/2002 11:00PM

Tyler Baze makes New York debut

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ELMONT, N.Y. - Tyler Baze, the winner of the 2000 Eclipse Award for top apprentice, will ride in New York for the first time on Sunday in the $250,000 Forest Hills Handicap.

Baze, who is based in Southern California, rides Avanzado, the likely favorite in the Grade 2 Forest Hills.

In a surprise to many, Baze won the Eclipse over New York rider Norberto Arroyo Jr. Last year, Baze was able to keep the momentum going in his first year as a journeyman, winning more than $6.5 million in purses and riding 197 winners. This year, things have cooled for Baze, who turns 20 on Oct. 19.

Through Thursday, he had won 69 races and purses totaling $2.4 million.

"We kind of figured this year would be slower," Baze said from California on Friday. "I hope by Christmas, I'm rolling again."

Baze has been on a roll with Avanzado, a 5-year-old who enters the Forest Hills off back-to-back wins, including a victory in the Pirates Bounty Stakes at Del Mar on Sept. 7.

"I'm excited about him and have high expectations," Baze said. "He's very, very fast."

Baze flies to New York on Sunday morning and leaves later that evening, leaving him without any time for sightseeing.

"But it will be nice to ride at a new track and see what's out there and meet new people," he said.

Gander switches to Empire Classic

Gander, the morning line favorite in Friday's $400,000 Meadowlands Cup, was scratched from the race and will await the $250,000 Empire Classic at Belmont on Oct. 19.

Gander won the Grade 2 Meadowlands Cup last year and the restricted Empire Classic in 1999.

"We talked it over with the owners and decided to sit tight and wait for the Empire Classic," Gander's trainer, John Terranova, said. "We were kind of on the fence for the Meadowlands race, anyway."

Silver Squire iffy for Cowdin

Silver Squire came out a Thursday work, his first since his 33-length loss in the Futurity, in good order - but there is only an outside possibility he will run in next Sunday's $100,000 Cowdin for 2-year-olds.

Silver Squire made his stakes debut in the Futurity on Sept. 15 after easily winning his first two starts, both at Saratoga. In the Grade 1 Futurity, Silver Squire stumbled at the start and his trainer, John Kimmel, said the colt jarred himself.

"I fooled with him for a few days and tacked-walked him and then did some chiropractic work," Kimmel said. "The Cowdin is a longshot, but maybe the Nashua [Nov. 2]."

Milwaukee Brew aims for Classic

After toying with the idea of running Milwaukee Brew in a turf race here on Saturday, trainer Bobby Frankel has opted to simply train him up to the Breeders' Cup Classic. "If you run him and he doesn't run any good, you get criticized," Frankel said. "I'll just train him right into the race."

Frankel said Milwaukee Brew, who won the Santa Anita Handicap, didn't handle the track in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, finishing sixth, 7 1/2 lengths behind Evening Attire. "I'm positive it was the track, the way it was so wet that day; he didn't handle it," he said. "He came back and didn't even take a deep breath."

Frankel expects Milwaukee Brew to bounce back in the Classic, citing several examples of how horses that ran poorly in their prep came back to run well in the Breeders' Cup. Frankel mentioned that the Nick Zito-trained Albert the Great finished a well-beaten fourth in last year's Gold Cup and came back to be third, beaten only two lengths by Tiznow, in the Classic.

- Red Bullet, unraced since finishing last in the Gulfstream Park Handicap in March, worked three furlongs in 36.45 seconds on the training track on Friday.

* Belmont will offer wagering on Sunday's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe beginning at 11 a.m.

- additional reporting by David Grening