07/03/2001 11:00PM

Valid Forbes stays home


MIAMI ? Valid Forbes was scheduled to board a flight Tuesday morning with her stablemate, Sir Bear, bound for Iowa, where she was to compete Thursday evening in the $150,000 Iowa Oaks. But trainer Ralph Ziadie decided to cancel those plans and keep her home, where she will run next in the $250,000 Azalea Breeders' Cup Stakes next Saturday at Calder.

"I just wasn't sure if she was ready to go a mile and one sixteenth at this time, and there was no sense shipping her all the way out to Iowa if she wasn't up to the task," Ziadie said. "I didn't want to send her out there and then be second guessing myself if she ran bad. So we'll just keep her here and run her against the gray filly."

The gray filly Ziadie was referring to is Silk Concorde, the other member of his potent 3-year-old filly pair who has been pointed for the Azalea since returning to action here earlier in the meet. She and Valid Forbes combined to win all three legs of the filly division of the 2000 Stallion Series.

Ziadie's competition in the Azalea will include another locally based 3-year-old, I Am Nifty, who launched her 3-year-old campaign with an impressive allowance win here last month. She is one of four horses trainer Jim Hatchett is planning to run on the $1 million Summit of Speed program on July 14. The others are Radical Riley in the $250,000 Carry Back Stakes and the duo of Precious Feather and Penny Blues in the main event, the $400,000 Princess Rooney Handicap.

Pletcher may run three horses

Nobody nominated more horses to the Summit of Speed than trainer Todd Pletcher, who made a dozen members of his stable eligible for the four major stakes on the card. As of Wednesday, however, he was planning on shipping no more than three of the 12 to Florida.

"I'll probably send Texas Glitter for sure for the Turf Sprint [$100,000 Calder Turf Sprint Handicap]," Pletcher said from New York. "I might run Tugger in the Princess Rooney and possibly Orphan Avie in the Azalea. It sounds like Dream Supreme is coming for the Princess Rooney and if Hallowed Dreams were to also ship down I'm not sure I'd make the trip unless it was only going to be a five or six-horse field. If they were expecting seven or eight others in there besides the top two, I probably won't bother to send Tugger down."

Homesick jockey returns

The local jockey colony, which suffered some big hits this summer when Eibar Coa, Javier Castellano, and Rene Douglas all left town, finally received a boost when apprentice Charlene Hunt decided to return to the area for the remainder of the season after spending the past two months at Monmouth Park.

"There were a lot of reasons I decided to come back, but the biggest one was that I was just homesick," said Hunt. "I did okay at Monmouth, although not as well as I wanted to and I know I could do better here. But going north was a great experience. I won with my first mount at Aqueduct, missed being leading rider at Atlantic City by one, and rode a $138 winner [Iron Zane] at Monmouth."

* Apprentice Patra Jean wasted little time losing one of the three stars on her bug after winning a pair of races Tuesday. Jean, who rode her first winner just over three weeks earlier, won the fourth and fifth victories of her promising career aboard Pugsly and Endearing Spirit in the second and sixth races on Tuesday's program. She now has five wins overall and dropped from a 10- to a seven-pound allowance.

* Abel Castellano, sidelined by a riding suspension since June 19, let everyone know he's back by winning three of the first eight races on Wednesday's program. Castellano, who was tied for the top spot in the standings with Rosemary Homeister Jr. and Cornelio Velasquez at the time of his suspension, won the opener aboard longshot Sword Chief, the fifth race on Pensglitter, and the eighth with Arcadia Light.

* Post positions were drawn Wednesday for the Jockeys Foot Race for Charity with a full field of 14. The field will line up from the rail out with Abad Cabassa Jr., Abel Castellano, Rafael Torrealba, Eduardo Nunez, Shauna Shelton, Douglas Portillo, Jose Espada, Eric Valles, Johnny Rojas, Jocy Gomez, Omar Camejo, Jose Rivera II, Rosmary Homeister Jr., and Charlene Hunt. Jesus Miranda and Horacio Karamanos will have to draw in off the also-eligible list.