ELMONT, N.Y., OCT. 7 -- After Go For Wand scored a brilliant victory in the the Beldame Stakes at Belmont Park today, trainer Billy Badgett faced a decision that will have a great impact on the Breeders' Cup three weeks hence.

Badgett could run his 3-year-old filly against members of her own sex in the $1 million Distaff -- the logical, "safe" spot. But he is tempted to roll the dice and enter Go For Wand against the country's best males in the $3 million Classic, taking a shot at the horse-of-the-year title. And he thinks she may be good enough to win, especially after she ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:45 4/5 -- only two-fifths of a second off Secretariat's track record.

Certainly, she was good enough to steal the limelight from the males who ran in the other Grade I stakes on today's program, the $600,000 Turf Classic. Britain-based Cacoethes led for the entire 1 1/2 miles in a stakes-record 2:25, but he was greatly abetted by rival jockeys who let him take an unchallenged early lead.

Go For Wand was given no such soft conditions. Jockey Jose Santos, who rode her principal rival Colonial Waters, did not want the favorite to have an easy early lead, so he sent his mount to the front, hustling the first half-mile in :45 4/5 and the three-quarters in a swift 1:09 1/5. Randy Romero had Go For Wand sitting just outside the leader, going effortlessly. The two of them already had run away from the other three females in the Beldame, and as they turned into the stretch, Romero asked Go For Wand to pull away from Colonial Waters -- which she did.

She drew away to score a 4 3/4-length victory that brought her career record to 10 victories and two seconds in 12 starts -- all of them against fillies or mares. Now, Badgett thinks, the time has come to challenge males. "I think after today it might be a little easier {to decide} than it has been," he said. "She showed me she can run fast and keep going. If she comes out of this race as good as she came out of the last one, I'd be inclined to run in the Classic."

Badgett figures challenging males in the world's richest race would be almost a no-risk gamble. Even if she loses, Go For Wand has already locked up the Eclipse Award as the country's champion 3-year-old filly. If she won, she'd be a national heroine.

In the Turf Classic, Cacoethes went to the lead and was permitted to gallop the first three-quarters of a mile in 1:14 1/5 with no pressure, as the other five riders had their mounts under hammerlocks. Having set those slow fractions, Cacoethes ran the final three-quarters of a mile in 1:10 4/5. Few thoroughbreds would be capable of making up much ground on a leader running so fast, and the ones in the Turf Classic couldn't. Cacoethes, ridden by Ray Cochrane, scored by 1 1/2 lengths over Alwuhush, who nosed out 6-5 favorite With Approval for second.