03/12/2004 1:00AM

War's Prospect steps up


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - War's Prospect, who won last year's New Jersey Futurity at The Meadowlands, will step up in class when he runs in next Saturday's $200,000 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct.

In his last start, War's Prospect, a New Jersey-bred trained by Bill Anderson, won a second-level allowance race by 2 3/4 lengths at Aqueduct on Feb. 22. A fifth-place finish in the Fred "Cappy" Capossela Stakes on Jan. 19 preceded that effort.

Anderson said War's Prospect had an excuse in the Capossela.

"We scoped him and found a lung infection," said Anderson, who co-owns War's Prospect. "That really was his only poor race. He's a late-May foal who has really blossomed during the last six weeks or two months. I don't think he is of the quality of the top 3-year-olds, and I was thinking of passing the Gotham, but he has been training better than ever."

After winning two of seven starts in sprint races, War's Prospect's last win came around two turns. He controlled the pace and was never seriously challenged by his four rivals. Anderson said he likes the idea of returning to one turn in the one-mile Gotham.

"I think it should benefit him, really," he said. "The race looks like it will be loaded with speed, and he can sit off that. He'll have to, because there is a lot of early speed."

Anderson said War's Prospect was scheduled to breeze Saturday at Philadelphia Park and most likely will be ridden in the Grade 3 Gotham by five-pound apprentice Daniel Santana, who was aboard for the last win.

The other horses probable for the Gotham, with riders, are Deputy Storm (Jorge Chavez); Eddington (Edgar Prado); Pomeroy (Mike Smith); Quick Action (Shaun Bridgmohan); and Redskin Warrior (Richard Migliore).

No Gotham for Judiths Wild Rush

Gotham nominee Judiths Wild Rush has been working brilliantly at Belmont Park, but will not run in the Gotham, according to his trainer, Scott Fairlie.

Instead, Fairlie is considering the $150,000 Bay Shore at Aqueduct on April 10 or the $500,000 Illinois Derby on April 13 at Hawthorne.

Last year, Judiths Wild Rush won his first three starts at Woodbine, including a 10-length win in the Display Stakes, before finishing ninth as the favorite in the $1 million Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs on Dec. 5.

"He was still pretty green, and the race was run at night and he was gawking at everything," Fairlie said. "He just wasn't comfortable."

With racing and training shut down during the winter in Canada, Fairlie brought Judith's Wild Rush to New York in the middle of January.

"I wanted to keep him in the cold," Fairlie said. "He's been working good, but he's not quite up to running in the Gotham. We lost some time with him after his last race because he bruised up all four of his feet."

Fairlie said he isn't thinking about the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 1 for Judiths Wild Rush because that would be "too much too quick," but did indicate he would consider the Preakness, depending on how Judith's Wild Rush spring campaign progresses.

Fairlie said he would make a decision on the horse's next start after Judiths Wild Rush works at Belmont over the weekend. The Grade 3 Bay Shore is a seven-furlong race. The Grade 2 Illinois Derby will be run at 1 1/8 miles.

Whoopi Cat points for Cicada

Among the 3-year-old fillies pointing to next Saturday's Grade 3 Cicada is Whoopi Cat, the winner of last year's Grade 2 Adirondack at Saratoga. Whoopi Cat, trained by Patrick Biancone, is scheduled to arrive from California on Wednesday along with her stablemate, Pomeroy, who will run in the Gotham.

Others pointing to the $100,000 Cicada include the undefeated Among My Souvenirs, Bohemian Lady, She's a Mugs, and Whirlwind Charlott. Ruthless winner Baldomera and Greenberg are listed as possible to run. The Cicada is a seven-furlong race.

Wagering on Cheltenham

On Thursday, Aqueduct will offer wagering on three steeplechase races from the National Hunt Festival card in Cheltenham, England. The races are the Gold Cup, the Grand Annual Challenge Cup, and the Cathcart Challenge Cup.

Wagering will be available at SAM machines on the first floor of the clubhouse. Post time for the Gold Cup is 10:15 a.m. Eastern; 11:35 a.m. for the Annual Challenge; and 12:10 p.m. for the Challenge Cup.

There will be advance wagering only on the Gold Cup on Wednesday.

* Beginning this weekend, the will-pays for the pick six will be shown on the closed-circuit monitors at the track and in simulcast outlets after the next-to-last race in the pick six is run. If there are no tickets correctly selecting six winners, the monitors will display the carryover.