11/16/2004 12:00AM

Weigelia likely to stay home


MIAMI - The 3-year-old Weigelia turned in one of the most impressive performances on Saturday's Florida Million card, defeating nine older rivals in the $150,000 Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap. He earned a 108 Beyer Speed Figure, matching his career-best figure, posted over this same track July 10 in the Carry Back Stakes.

The question now is what will be next for him? Trainer Manny Azpurua initially mentioned the possibility of trying Weigelia on the grass in the 7 1/2-furlong Pete Axthelm Stakes on Dec. 11. But by Monday, Azpurua said he was leaning more toward keeping Weigelia on dirt and waiting an extra week for the Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap, which is carded at seven furlongs over the main track here Dec. 18.

"I've been contacted about taking him out to California next month for the [Malibu] at Santa Anita," said Azpurua. "It's tempting, but that's a long ways to go. I think I'd rather just keep him here, especially since he loves this track so much. Right now he's going to run in the Kenny Noe, and then we'll go from there."

Weigelia's victory in the Jack Dudley came in his first start over his home track since the Carry Back. In three subsequent outings, Weigelia finished third in the Grade 2 Amsterdam and second in the Grade 1 King's Bishop at Saratoga and third over a muddy strip in the Perryville Stakes at Keeneland.

"He's just a good horse who keeps on getting better every day, and I think he's going to be even better as a 4-year-old," said Azpurua.

Pletcher loaded for upcoming stakes

Trainer Todd Pletcher, who has already won two stakes during the Tropical meeting, including last Saturday's $150,000 Jack Price with odds-on favorite Flamenco, will continue to ship down key contenders for local stakes over the next several weeks.

On Saturday, Pletcher will send out Beebe Lake and Krasnaya in the $40,000 Princess Mora Stakes. They are two of the four horses he will saddle in the overnight event for fillies and mares on the grass. Beebe Lake won her division of the Soft Parade Stakes on Nov. 6, and Krasnaya finished second in the first and faster split of the same event. Pletcher also has Path of Thunder and Honey Ryder in the race.

Pletcher has nominated a trio of 3-year-old fillies for the Frances A. Genter Stakes on turf the following weekend, including Grade 2 winner Capeside Lady, a New York-bred who has never started on turf. Pletcher may also send Honey Ryder and Path of Thunder in the Genter.

Pletcher will be even busier Dec. 4, when he runs Something Ventured in the Grade 3 My Charmer Handicap, the promising 2-year-old filly Buzz Song in the Three Ring Stakes, and Host in the Grade 3 Tropical Turf Handicap.

Local group splits with National HBPA

The Florida Horsemen's Benev-olent and Protective Association has voted to break ties with the National HBPA. The FHBPA represents horsemen at Calder and Gulfstream Park but not Tampa Bay Downs, which is represented by its own group.

Communication between the National HBPA and the local group has been strained in recent months. Earlier this summer, Linda Mills, president of the Florida HBPA, was defeated in a vote for the presidency of the national group by current president Ed Roark.

Moran calls it quits again

Jockey Mike Moran, who launched a comeback earlier this season following a nine-year hiatus, has decided to hang up his tack for good.

Moran returned to the saddle and won three races on the Southern California circuit this summer before moving to Calder at the beginning of the current session. He was winless here in 18 mounts during the Tropical meeting.

"It's amazing he was even able to come back to ride again," said jockey agent Cory Moran, Mike Moran's brother, who handled his book at Calder. "He lost about 60 pounds to get back to riding weight this summer, but it wasn't worth the battle any more. If he was riding a bunch of good horses, that would be one thing, but with the Gulfstream meet coming up it just didn't make sense to continually fight his weight like that."