03/14/2002 1:00AM

Wrangler a weird one, but a good one


JAMAICA, N.Y. - Wrangler is well spotted and well drawn to continue his winning ways Saturday when he meets six rivals in the $100,000 Toboggan Handicap at Aqueduct.

Wrangler, who has won three straight races including the General George Handicap at Laurel Park, drew the outside post in the seven-horse field and is the starting co-highweight at 119 pounds along with Affirmed Success.

In the General George, Wrangler proved he could handle seven furlongs, the distance of the Toboggan. Saturday, against roughly the same caliber of horses, including two of his own stablemates, Wrangler has few questions that need answering.

Still, when asked what his concerns might be, Jerkens said, "Is he still the same horse? It seems like he is, but you never know. He doesn't give you much to go on, he's such a weirdo."

Wrangler does not like to train, which is one of the reasons he is running in the Toboggan. Jerkens is pointing Wrangler to the Grade 1 Carter Handicap on April 13, but did not want to simply train him up to the race. While Wrangler does not show a workout leading up to the Toboggan, Jerkens said the colt did work three furlongs in 37 seconds the wrong way around the training track on Wednesday.

"If he's happy, looks good and strong, he's going to run good," Jerkens said. "I tend to find that horses that don't do a lot in the morning don't need a lot."

Wrangler should get good pace in front of him with Run Kush Run and King's Messenger in the field.

Jerkens has also entered Voodoo and Multiple Choice in the Toboggan. Voodoo may scratch to run in an allowance race next week, but Multiple Choice will run and is not without an upset chance, though he is coming off two poor races over the inner track.

"In those races he got hit with that dirt and he really backed off away from the dirt," Jerkens said. "He put in a nice run in both races in the last eighth of a mile." Multiple Choice gets in with a light 111 pounds under Lorenzo Lezcano.

Even though trainer Richard Schosberg admits Affirmed Success has lost a step from his prime, he believes the horse should run an improved race Saturday from his third-place finish in the General George. Schosberg believes Affirmed Success may have regressed from his previous race and was compromised by carrying top weight and a wide trip in the General George.

"My opinion is Wrangler is the horse to beat," Schosberg said. "But anybody that's ever beaten [Affirmed Success] knows that it takes a top effort to beat him."

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