03/06/2003 12:00AM

War not scaring 'em away - yet

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Even with war threatening to break out in Iraq, American trainers and owners seem to be taking an unflinching attitude toward running their horses at Nad Al Sheba on Dubai World Cup night March 29.

Who represents the United States in Dubai will depend on developments on both the training track and in the Pentagon. If a war should start before mid-March, a number of horses, including prime World Cup candidates Medaglia d'Oro and Harlan's Holiday, are likely to stay home. Otherwise, there could be a record number of Americans in Dubai in search of $15.25 million in prize money, including the $6 million World Cup.

Trainer Richard Mandella intends to send Kilroe Mile winner Redattore to the Dubai Duty Free. Redattore could be accompanied on the 8,000-mile journey from California to the United Arab Emirates by a stablemate, Dubai World Cup hopeful Pleasantly Perfect, who finished fourth in last week's Santa Anita Handicap.

The Dubai Golden Shaheen, a $2 million straight race at six furlongs on the Nad Al Sheba dirt track, has been dominated by the United States in its last three runnings and is a natural objective for American horses. Caller One won the last two renewals and Big Jag set the track record of 1:08.10 in 2000. As many as five American sprinters are aimed for the Group 1 Golden Shaheen, including last year's third-place finisher Xtra Heat as well as Captain Squire, Avanzado, Gygistar, and Disturbingthepeace, who is also being considered by trainer Darrell Vienna for the Godolphin Mile.

Vienna's first choice for the Golden Shaheen was last year's runner-up, Echo Eddie, but a setback for Echo Eddie has forced a change of plans. Echo Eddie, Avanzado, Nuclear Debate, and Disturbingthepeace have also been invited to the six-furlong Group 1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen on turf at Chukyo March 30.

Byzantium has been earmarked for the UAE Derby. As a Southern Hemisphere 3-year-old he is ineligible for the Kentucky Derby. The Brazilian-bred Byzantium, winner of the Brazilian 2000 Guineas on turf as well as a pair of listed races on dirt at provincial Taruma, finished sixth in a Gulfstream turf allowance race for trainer Elliott Walden in his U.S. debut. A return to dirt against what appears to be a lackluster group of Godolphin Kentucky Derby candidates could put him back on the winning track.

Outta Here is still a possibility for the UAE Derby. Region of Merit will probably pass the UAE Derby and run in the Tampa Bay Derby instead.

Trainer Warren Stute said Wednesday Grey Memo will defend his Godolphin Mile title. That $1 million dirt race could also attract Easyfromthegitgo, while Lusty Latin and My Cousin Matt are on the fence.