05/14/2002 11:00PM

Victory Ride goes nice 'n' breezy


ELMONT, N.Y. - Grade 1 winner Victory Ride had her final breeze for Saturday's $200,000 Shuvee Handicap on Wednesday at Belmont Park.

Going out at her usual time of 6:30 a.m., Victory Ride, with exercise rider Marcus O'Donnell in the saddle, worked three furlongs in 38.05 seconds, breezing, over the main track.

Victory Ride's trainer, Rusty Arnold, postponed the work from Tuesday to Wednesday because of the wet and wild weather that pounded the area on Monday. The high winds, which continued all day on Tuesday, dried out the track.

"The track was excellent; my guess is that there was a little water put on it," Arnold said. "She worked from the quarter pole past the wire and was just stretching her legs."

Arnold wasn't looking for much on Wednesday from Victory Ride, who won the Madison Stakes at Keeneland in her last start on April 10, after she worked a sizzling five furlongs in 57.61 seconds on May 4. Victory Ride worked quicker than Arnold preferred when she spotted a trio of workers in front of her and charged after them.

"At least the work was two weeks before the race, not five days," Arnold said.

Victory Ride likely will be the second choice in what is expected to be a small Shuvee field. Raging Fever, a winner of three stakes this year, is the probable favorite.

Vagrancy timing right for Xtra Heat

Xtra Heat, the winner of Sunday's $150,000 Genuine Risk, is being considered for the $150,000 Vagrancy on June 9, according to her trainer, John Salzman.

In the Genuine Risk, Xtra Heat was making her first start since finishing third in the Dubai Golden Shaheen on March 23.

Salzman's main goal for Xtra Heat, last year's 3-year-old filly champion, is the $400,000 Princess Rooney at Calder on July 13.

"The Vagrancy would suit us good, because then we'd have just about five weeks between races," Salzman said. "If she doesn't run in the Vagrancy, that would be nine weeks without a race. She just doesn't need that much time off."

'Middle Move Joe' celebrated

Joe LaFalce, a racing enthusiast who died in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, will be remembered with a race his friends named in his honor at Belmont on Saturday.

Sixty of LaFalce's friends will gather for a barbecue at the track in LaFalce's memory. Noel McPartland, who works at Killarney Rose, a bar near the Trade Center, organized the event.

"He was only a $2 bettor, but he went to Belmont every Saturday," McPartland said. "We called him 'Middle Move Joe' because he was always looking for the horse that made the middle move, two races back."

Bouwerie looking good

Sunday's $75,000-added Bouwerie, a New York-bred stakes, is shaping up to be a competitive race.

Among the 3-year-old fillies pointing to the seven-furlong Bouwerie is the undefeated Carson Hollow, who was scratched from last weekend's Nassau County. Other probables are She's Got the Beat, a winner of three of her last five starts, plus a pair of seconds in open races; and Shawklit Mint, a 5 1/4-length winner of a restricted allowance race in her last start.

- Trainer Bill Mott, who leads the standings at the meet with six winners, was handed a 15-day suspension and fined $1,000 for a post-race positive for lidocaine found in a horse he trains, Sweet Charity. Sweet Charity tested positive for the medication after finishing third in a Jan. 4 race at Aqueduct. Mott has appealed the suspension and a stay has been granted.